By Megumi Fujikawa
TOKYO–Toshiba Corp.’s shareholders rejected a management plan to split the company into two parts, reflecting strong opposition from foreign shareholders, including some who want the company to be auctioned to the highest bidder.
Under the plan, Toshiba would have spun off its electronic-device business, and the remaining unit would have focused on energy and infrastructure businesses such as power turbines and water-treatment systems.
The Japanese industrial conglomerate’s management and foreign shareholders, who hold roughly half the company, have been at odds for years as the shareholders push for higher returns and more extensive restructuring.
Many foreign investors said ahead of the vote that they didn’t believe the company’s management and board tried hard enough to solicit proposals from private-equity firms to buy all of Toshiba. Such a buyout, though unusual in Japan’s traditional corporate culture, could enable the investors to exit their Toshiba investments relatively quickly with a profit.
Toshiba shareholders also rejected a proposal submitted by Singapore-based 3D Investment Partners Pte., asking the company’s strategic review committee to consider alternatives, including selling the whole company to a private investor. Some shareholders said they didn’t want to give such specific directives to the committee.
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