Toshiba’s preferred bidder moving closer to securing financing for buyout -sources

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FILE PHOTO: Toshiba Corp's annual general meeting with its shareholders in Tokyo

(In 4th paragraph, corrects to show that valuation does not include debt, but buyout would be partly funded by loans by the banks)

By Makiko Yamazaki, Kane Wu and Ritsuko Shimizu

TOKYO/HONG KONG (Reuters) -Japan Industrial Partners, the preferred bidder to buy out Toshiba Corp, has moved closer to securing financing from banks, three people with knowledge of the matter said.

Concrete restructuring steps proposed by JIP have made a group of lenders, including Toshiba’s main banks Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp and Mizuho Bank Ltd, more confident in JIP’s post-acquisition plans, said two of the people who have direct knowledge of the financing discussions.

Toshiba’s shares climbed on the news, up 3% on Friday morning and outperforming a 1.1% advance for the benchmark Nikkei index.

JIP, which is planning to form a consortium, is hoping to secure commitments from banks this month for a buyout that would value the industrial conglomerate at around 2.2 trillion yen ($16 billion), part of which would be funded by loans from the banks, one of the people and a fourth source said.

Those two sources cautioned, however, that how much each bank will take on in the financing has not been fixed yet and it’s not clear when that would be finalised, they said.

JIP’s bid has called for Toshiba management to retain their jobs – a proposal which initially made some of the banks cautious about lending, sources have said.

The new restructuring steps proposed by JIP could not be immediately learned.

The sources all declined to be identified as the talks are private.

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp, the core unit of Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc, and Mizuho Bank Ltd, the core unit of Mizuho Financial Group Inc declined to comment.

Toshiba, whose businesses span nuclear power, defence technology and which owns 40% of memory chip maker Kioxia Holdings, also declined to comment.

Orix Corp, chipmaker Rohm Co Ltd and Japan Post Bank Co Ltd are among Japanese companies likely to join JIP in its bid, sources have previously said.

Global private equity firms that have shown interest in joining a Toshiba buyout could also participate in the debt portion of the deal, said a separate person with knowledge of the situation.

Another bidder, the state-backed Japan Investment Corp (JIC), which sources have said could form a consortium with Bain Capital and MBK Partners, has been sidelined, one of the people said.

JIC, MBK and Bain declined to comment.

JIP originally teamed up with JIC in a first round of bidding earlier this year, but disagreement over whether to keep Toshiba’s management saw them make separate bids in the second round, Reuters has previously reported.

($1 = 137.0500 yen)

(Reporting by Kane Wu, Makiko Yamazaki and Ritsuko Shimizu; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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