Text: Aurick Go / Photos: IIHS | posted May 27, 2016 12:30
The Japanese company finds savior amidst airbag recall scandal
With the consequences of the massive airbag recall still hanging on its head, Takata seems to have found a willing buyer that may help rebuild and restructure the company. According to latest reports, a private equity firm by the name of KKR & Co. is poised to take control of the Japanese manufacturer as attempts to raise capital and restructure the company take place.
Previously known as Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., New York-based KKR specializes in leveraged buyouts. Included among their list of known buyouts are large companies such as Toys R Us, RJB Nabisco, and Dollar General. Despite these big-name buyouts however, KKR is relatively new to the automotive industry. Takata retains the financial services of Lazard Ltd. to attract more investments as they gear up for a massive restructuring plan.
Given that many automakers were affected by the supply of faulty air bags, part of the plan upon buyout is to negotiate the shouldering of these enormous costs involved with replacement of the aforementioned products. By footing part of the bill, Takata may have a chance at dodging bankruptcy, thereby eliminating the consequence of losing a major supplier of safety devices such as seatbelts.
Takata has been levied with hundreds of millions in fines and legal settlements as well as billions in recall costs thanks to the faulty airbag issue. With their stock values dropping to less than half since the issue surfaced, their values are slowly climbing back up upon news of KKR’s acquisition.