U.S. hedge fund Farallon joins top Toshiba shareholder in call for EGM

The logo of Toshiba is seen as a shareholder arrives at Toshiba's extraordinary shareholders meeting in Chiba
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Toshiba is seen as a shareholder arrives at Toshiba's extraordinary shareholders meeting in Chiba, Japan March 30, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

December 25, 2020

By Makiko Yamazaki

TOKYO (Reuters) -U.S. hedge fund Farallon Capital Management said on Friday it has asked Toshiba Corp to convene an extraordinary shareholders meeting over the firm’s investment strategy, the second call for an EGM in a week by major Toshiba investors.

Farallon, which owns a stake of more than 5% in Toshiba, joins top shareholder Effissimo Capital Management, which has a 9.91% stake, in calling for an emergency meeting.

Farallon said Toshiba should seek shareholder approval over what it said is a change in investment strategies.

Toshiba’s recently announced plan to use approximately one trillion yen ($9.66 billion) for large-scale mergers and acquisitions is in marked contrast to the strategy that “focused on a disciplined capital policy and targeted growth through organic expansion and small-scale, programmatic M&A,” the fund said in a statement.

It also pointed to Toshiba’s poor M&A track record, saying the company has recorded a total of about 1.8 trillion yen ($17.4 billion) of impairment losses in the past 20 years resulting from “heedless growth investments.”

A Toshiba spokeswoman said the company is aware of the fund’s announcement and will make a regulatory filing once it officially receives the request.

Effissimo’s call for an EGM is about launching a team of legal experts to investigate the firm’s annual general meeting (AGM), at which it said the voting rights of several shareholders were compromised.

Reuters reported a Japanese government adviser told the Harvard University endowment fund that its vote at Toshiba’s AGM could be subject to a regulatory probe should it vote against the firm’s management.

($1 = 103.5200 yen)

(Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki; Editing by William Mallard and Raju Gopalakrishnan)