Hitachi, 2 others strike deal on buyout of Japan's Renesas


Posted at Nov 26 2012 01:34 PM | Updated as of Nov 26 2012 09:34 PM

TOKYO - Hitachi Ltd. and two other major shareholders of Renesas Electronics Corp. have reached a basic deal on a buyout plan for the struggling chipmaker with a Japanese government-backed turnaround fund, sources familiar with the agreement said Monday.

The purchase plan presented last month by the Innovation Network Corp. of Japan, involving investment totaling about 200 billion yen, is expected to be finalized in early December, the sources said.

The basic deal has been struck between the fund and the three top shareholders, Hitachi, NEC Corp. and Mitsubishi Electric Corp.

Renesas, a leading maker of microcontrollers and other semiconductor products, is expected to cut about another 5,000 staff as part of its turnaround efforts.

The fund has been asking the three major shareholders to employ about 1,000 of the staff among them.

Mitsubishi Electric plans to accept more than 100 Renesas employees. But NEC -- which itself is facing tough business conditions and carrying out a cut of some 10,000 workers worldwide -- is considering providing financial assistance to the chipmaker rather than taking on staff, according to the sources.

Under the plan, the fund will invest about 180 billion yen and acquire around two-thirds of Renesas' shares.

The rest will be acquired by the chipmaker's eight major clients, including Toyota Motor Corp. and Panasonic Corp.

In a move acknowledging Renesas's poor business performance, the turnaround fund and the companies involved are planning to replace President Yasushi Akao and some of its other executives, the sources said.

U.S. investment fund Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. had proposed buying Renesas. But the Japanese public-private alliance countered the proposal fearing it could compromise the supply of microcomputers, essential to many automotive and consumer electronics products.