After 74 years, Toshiba delists from Tokyo Exchange, a name long synonymous with Japanese technological prowess, marking the end of an era. The company was delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Wednesday, signifying a significant shift in its storied history. This move follows a tumultuous decade characterized by scandal and upheaval, leading to a takeover by a consortium of domestic investors and an uncertain road ahead.
The $14 billion takeover, led by Japan Industrial Partners (JIP), includes Orix, Chubu Electric Power, and chipmaker Rohm. This development comes after years of strife with overseas activists, which hampered the conglomerate's operations spanning batteries, chips, and defense equipment.
In the wake of this change, Toshiba stated, "The company expresses its sincere gratitude to its shareholders and other stakeholders for their understanding and wholehearted support to the company’s management for many years since the company was listed. Toshiba Group will now take a major step toward a new future with a new shareholder."
Toshiba's shares concluded their final trading day at 4,590 yen, a subtle dip from the day before. With Chief Executive Taro Shimada at the helm, the focus is expected to shift towards high-margin digital services.
Some industry experts, like Damian Thong, Head of Japan Research at Macquarie Capital Securities, observe, "Toshiba's difficulties ultimately were caused by a combination of bad strategic decisions and bad luck."
He adds, "I hope that through divestitures, Toshiba's assets and human talent can find new homes where their full potential can be unleashed."
The Japanese government is closely monitoring the situation, considering Toshiba's significant employment of approximately 106,000 people and its critical role in national security.
The new board will include four JIP executives, one representative each from Orix and Chubu Electric, and a senior adviser from Toshiba's primary lender, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group. Toshiba has already initiated collaborations, notably a $2.7 billion investment with Rohm to produce power chips.
Ulrike Schaede, a professor of Japanese business at the University of California, San Diego, notes, "The company needs to get out of lower-margin businesses and develop stronger commercial strategies for some of its advanced technologies."
She emphasizes the potential for innovation, stating, "If management can figure out a way to let those engineers truly engage in breakthrough innovation activities, they can emerge as an important player."
Toshiba, historically known for its influence in the electronics sector, has taken significant steps under new ownership. This includes a manufacturing deal with Rohm, indicative of a strategy to potentially divide the company to enhance value.
Toshiba's legacy dates back to a factory established in 1875. The company, initially Shibaura Engineering Works, merged with Tokyo Electric Company in 1939, adopting the name Toshiba in 1978. Its ascent mirrored Japan's post-war economic boom, positioning it as a global leader in technology.
However, the company's recent struggles, including a major accounting scandal in 2015 and issues in its nuclear technology subsidiary, led to divestitures and a strategic overhaul. Toshiba's journey reflects both the achievements and challenges of Japan's corporate sector.
As Toshiba embarks on this new journey, the focus is on revitalizing its core strengths and exploring innovative avenues. The company's statement reflects this optimism and gratitude, the Toshiba Group stated that they, "will now take a major step toward a new future with a new shareholder." This pivotal moment marks not just the end of an era but the beginning of a new chapter in Toshiba's enduring legacy.