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PE Firm MBK Partners Considers Joining JIC’s Toshiba Bid, Sources Say

(Bloomberg) -- MBK Partners is considering joining a consortium led by state-backed investment fund Japan Investment Corp. seeking to buy Toshiba Corp., according to people familiar with the matter.

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The North Asia-focused private equity firm has held initial discussions to explore backing JIC’s bid, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private. JIC is also in talks to team up with Bain Capital, the people said.

Toshiba aims to collect second-round bids by the end of this month, they said. Deliberations are ongoing and no final decision has been made, the people said. Representatives for Bain, JIC and MBK declined to comment. A representative for Toshiba declined to comment on information about investor candidates, including co-investors.

Toshiba started seeking proposals in April after its shareholders rejected a plan put forward by management to split the company. The conglomerate has received eight bids to privatize the company and two offers to form business alliances.

Shares of Toshiba rose about 1.5% as of 9:32 a.m. in Tokyo, ending a three-day losing streak. The stock has risen about 10% this year, giving the company a market value of about $15.6 billion.

A buyout of Toshiba could be private equity’s biggest ever deal in the country. CVC Capital Partners and Japan Industrial Partners are among potential bidders for the Japanese firm, Bloomberg News has reported.

Any sale of Toshiba, which owns a sensitive nuclear power business would require approval from the Japanese government. Toshiba is categorized as a company of interest to national security under the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act for its nuclear expertise.

(Updates Toshiba’s share price in fifth paragraph.)

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