© Reuters/ISSEI KATOFILE PHOTO: Reporters raise their hands for a question during a Toshiba news conference in Tokyo
TOKYO (Reuters) -The chairman of Toshiba Corp's board said on Friday a recent $20 billion offer by CVC Capital Partners to take the company private was contingent on various regulatory approvals and financing arrangements, suggesting any deal would take time.
"This initial proposal by CVC was completely unsolicited and not initiated by Toshiba," board chairman Osamu Nagayama said.
The offer comes three weeks after shareholders approved an independent probe into the scandal-hit company.
Going private could help shield Toshiba and Chief Executive Nobuaki Kurumatani, who joined the company from CVC, from increasing pressure by activist shareholders who are demanding better governance.
Analysts have also warned of tough regulatory reviews, as Toshiba's business includes building nuclear reactors, supplying defence equipment and lithium-ion batteries used in military submarines.
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Nagayama said that CVC's proposal was contingent on financing assistance from co-investors and financial institutions.
"We expect that such financing process would require a substantial amount of time and involve complexity for consideration," he said.
A source familiar with the matter said Toshiba is expecting CVC to present a formal proposal as early as next week, which will be examined by a special committee comprising of external directors. The source declined to be identified as the matter is private.
Toshiba shares fell as much as 6% after the statement before closing down 5.4% on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
Dozens of activist funds took stakes in Toshiba when the company sold 600 billion yen ($5.48 billion) of stocks in 2017 during a crisis stemming from the bankruptcy of its U.S. nuclear power unit.
($1 = 109.4200 yen)
(Reporting by Ritsuko Ando, Makiko Yamazaki and Noriyuki Hirata; Editing by Himani Sarkar, Christopher Cushing and Ana Nicolaci da Costa)