The accounting scandal engulfing Toshiba has made the prospect of a spin-off or sale of its PC business more likely, an analyst has asserted.
Toshiba's chief executive Hisao Tanaka resigned today after an independent probe found the vendor had overstated its profits to the tune of ¥151.8bn (£780m) over the past seven years.
The Japanese giant hinted the saga could force it to divest non-core activities, saying in a statement it will now "accelerate concentration and selection of business areas and promote restructuring to enhance efficiencies".
With its PC business fingered as one of the culprits in the accounting probe, Tim Coulling, senior analyst at Canalys, said a sale of the division might make sense as Toshiba looks to get its house in order.
"As one of the businesses affected, it would be a potential way to help them get out of this issue and get investor confidence back," he told CRN.
According to Canalys, Toshiba shipped 2.5 million notebooks globally in Q1 2015 and its brand power in the West would make it an attractive target for a Chinese player looking to deepen its foothold in Europe or the US, Coulling said.
"Their PC business has not been performing well recently, and last year it announced it is stepping back from consumer business and focusing on B2B. Toshiba have said they've got to look at their assets and that is one that could potentially be spun off," he explained.
Accounting in relation to components transactions in the PC business was one of four areas the independent committee probed. The practices of its Visual Products and Semiconductor arms were also investigated.
Tanaka stood down today alongside six other high-ranking executives, including vice chairman Norio Sasaki. Chairman Masashi Muromachi will stand in as chief executive on an interim basis.
"Although the company is currently committed to reviewing and closely checking the investigation's report, it wishes at this juncture to express its sincere apologies to shareholders, investors and all other stakeholders for what has been identified as a substantial amount of inappropriate accounting over a long period of time, from fiscal 2008 to fiscal 2014," the company said.
In a statement to CRN, Toshiba said: "There are no specific plans for business restructuring at this point."
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