Toshiba's almost 150-year public presence ends



Japanese industrial giant Toshiba has concluded its tenure as a publicly listed company, announcing that a private consortium has acquired nearly 80 percent of its shares.

After a substantial $13.5-billion tender offer, remaining shareholders will be “squeezed out,” leading to Toshiba’s delisting from the stock market after over seven decades.

With roots dating back to 1875, Toshiba evolved into a vast conglomerate in the 20th century, becoming synonymous with Japan’s postwar economic resurgence and technological innovation.

The company gained international recognition for its diverse products, ranging from early laptop computers and elevators to nuclear power stations and microchips.

But it has lurched from crisis to crisis in recent years, including a huge accounting scandal in 2015 and billions of dollars in losses from US nuclear subsidiary Westinghouse.

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Pressure from activist shareholders and a takeover offer from private equity group CVC prompted aborted attempts to split the company first into three, and then into two.

Finally, in March, Toshiba’s board approved the takeover bid from a consortium comprising over 20 Japanese banks and other firms, heralding a new future with different ownership.

“Toshiba Group will now take a major step towards a new future with a new shareholder,” CEO Taro Shimada said in a statement on Thursday.

The saga has been closely watched in business circles for clues about what could become of other huge, diversified conglomerates in Japan and elsewhere.

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