U.S. investment fund Bain Capital LP is considering acquiring Toshiba Corp., sources familiar with the plan said Thursday, adding to uncertainties over the outlook for the Japanese conglomerate after its reform plan was rejected by shareholders last week.
Toshiba's largest shareholder Effissimo Capital Management Pte Ltd. indicated it would sell Toshiba shares it holds to Bain Capital if it launched a takeover bid for the Japanese firm.
Bain Capital said in a statement it has not made any decision on a possible tender offer. But it also said there are many problems to be solved, and that it needs to engage in dialogue with stakeholders.
The sources said the fund could possibly take Toshiba private by acquiring a majority of its shares.
Toshiba, a household name in Japan with a nearly 150-year history, has been facing pressure from shareholders frustrated by its lackluster efforts to boost growth and corporate value. Delisting could eliminate such pressure.
Toshiba said in a statement it is not involved in the developments between Bain Capital and Effissimo, adding it "will make best efforts to build trust with shareholders and reconsider its strategic options to enhance corporate value continuously."
Toshiba had sought majority support for its proposal to split into two listed companies at an extraordinary shareholders' meeting on March 24.
But it received opposition from 59.69% of its shareholders.
A proposal by some activist shareholders to take the firm private through selling Toshiba shares to foreign hedge funds, among other entities, was also rejected at the meeting.
In November, Toshiba proposed a plan to split into three listed companies. But it said in February that it would look to divide into two instead to cut costs of the split-up after the initial plan was met with opposition.