April 3, 2018 / 3:30 AM / 2 years ago

Japan state-backed fund, others to sell nearly $3 billion of Renesas stock

FILE PHOTO: Renesas Electronics Corp's logo is seen on its substrate at the company's conference in Tokyo, Japan, April 11, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

TOKYO (Reuters) - Renesas Electronics Corp said on Tuesday a state-backed fund and other shareholders would reduce their stakes in the Japanese chip maker, in a sale worth up to 295 billion yen ($2.8 billion) based on the prior day’s closing price.

The fund, Innovation Network Corp of Japan (INCJ), will reduce its stake to 33.4 percent from 45.6 percent, a Renesas spokeswoman said. Hitachi Ltd will cut its stake to 3.7 percent from 5.6 percent and NEC Corp will lower its holding to 4.3 percent from 6.4 percent, she said.

The price of the shares, which will be sold through the market, will be determined later this month.

Renesas shares were down 10 percent after the announcement, their lowest since July last year.

Public broadcaster NHK, which first reported the news, said the sale by INCJ was aimed at giving the chipmaker management greater freedom to make acquisitions as it seeks to bolster its global competitiveness.

INCJ rescued cash-strapped Renesas in 2013 with an investment of 150 billion yen ($1.4 billion), and received 69 percent of the chipmaker, but has whittled down its stake as the company regained its footing.

Last month, INCJ agreed to sell a 4.5 percent stake in Renesas to auto parts supplier Denso Corp.

Renesas last year bought U.S. chipmaker Intersil Corp for $3.2 billion and its chief executive said it was constantly reviewing its list of potential acquisition targets.

Renesas was created in 2010 from a merger of NEC’s chip division and Renesas Technology, which itself was established through a merger of the chip units of Hitachi and Mitsubishi Electric Corp.

Reporting by Chris Gallagher and Makiko Yamazaki; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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