TOKYO — Trading in Toshiba stock was halted Wednesday after the Tokyo-based technology conglomerate confirmed it had received a preliminary acquisition proposal.
Toshiba Corp. 6502, -3.04% said Tuesday it had asked for more details on the proposal, was giving it “careful consideration” and would make an announcement “in due course.”
Major Japanese newspaper Nikkei reported CVC Capital Partners was looking into acquiring the company for 2 trillion yen ($18 billion).
CVC is an international private equity and credit company, which has committed nearly $162 billion in funds, managing more than 300 investors. It declined to comment.
Toshiba, founded in 1875, was long revered as one of Japan’s most pristine brands, developing the nation’s first radar and microwaves, electric rice cookers and laptop computers. It also invented flash memory, the ubiquitous computer chips that store and retain data for digital cameras, cell phones and other gadgets. Toshiba no longer makes laptops and has sold its computer chips division.
In recent years it has been dogged by ethical questions and has been mired in scandals. In 2015, Toshiba acknowledged it had been systematically falsifying its books since 2008, as managers tried to meet overly ambitious targets. An outside investigation found profits had been inflated and massive expenses hidden.
It invested heavily in nuclear power. But after the March 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima, costs of the business ballooned because of growing safety concerns and a souring of sentiment toward nuclear power in countries like Germany.
After Toshiba had acquired Westinghouse in 2006 with much fanfare, the U.S. nuclear unit filed for bankruptcy protection in 2017.
Toshiba is now tasked with decommissioning nuclear plants in Japan, including the one in Fukushima, where critical tsunami damage set off reactor meltdowns.