Buyout fund JIP submits $15 billion Toshiba bid without bank backing, Nikkei says

By Kantaro Komiya and Makiko Yamazaki

TOKYO (Reuters) -Private equity fund Japan Industrial Partners has submitted a bid to buy Toshiba Corp for around $15 billion that lacks key commitments from banks, the Nikkei newspaper said on Monday, raising questions about whether the offer can succeed.

JIP’s proposal, which includes more than ten investors such as utility Chubu Electric Power Co Inc and financial services group Orix Corp, is seen totalling around 2.2 trillion yen ($15 billion), with about 1 trillion yen of that coming from the investors, the Nikkei said.

But the proposal appears not to have included commitment letters from banks, the newspaper said, adding the fund was aiming to pull together financing by the end of this month if Toshiba accepted the offer.

JIP, previously selected by Toshiba as the preferred bidder, was widely expected not to deliver a firm proposal with banks’ commitments in time for a Monday deadline it had received from the company.

JIP’s plan to allow Toshiba’s current management to stay on after a buyout had raised alarm among some of Japan’s big banks, whose funding is seen as critical to financing the deal, sources have said.

JIP, Chubu Electric and Orix will each invest 100 billion yen, the paper said, without saying where it got the information. A number of overseas funds opted not to join the proposal due to expectations for low returns, it said.

A Toshiba representative declined to comment, saying the company could not “answer information about candidates, including co-investors, as it may undermine fair process”.

Investor focus could now turn to another potential bidder, state-backed fund JIC, which sources have said is also preparing a bid. The fund has been in talks with U.S. private equity fund Bain Capital and north Asia fund MBK Partners to form a separate consortium, sources have said.

Private equity firm JIP and state-backed JIC had previously teamed up in a first-round of bidding for Toshiba earlier this year but then they parted ways for the second round.

Differences over JIP’s plan to retain Toshiba’s management were a source of friction between the two, Reuters has reported.

($1 = 146.5400 yen)

(Reporting by Kantaro Komiya and Makiko Yamazaki; Writing by David Dolan; Editing by David Goodman and Bernadette Baum)

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