Toshiba is in final talks to buy Australian-owned smart-meter maker Landis+Gyr for roughly US$2 billion, according to Japanese reports. The company is controlled by high-profile investor and media executive Cameron O’Reilly.Landis+Gyr is a major manufacturer of smart power meters, which play a central role in smartgrids: efficient power distribution networks controlled by IT.
The company employs 5000 people and generated sales of around US$1.5 billion last year. While its operations are Swiss-based, it has been owned since 2004 by Bayard Capital of Australia.
Bayard was launched as a buyout specialist in 2003 by Cameron O’Reilly – son of Irish media magnate Tony O’Reilly and CEO of provincial news and outdoor advertising group APN -“on behalf of some of Australia’s wealthiest families”, according to international reports. O’Reilly reportedly sold two thirds of his APN shares to set up Bayard.
Other backers are said to include John B. Fairfax, Kerry Stokes, the Smorgon family and New Zealand’s richest man Doug Myers, as well as other members of the Irish-based O’Reilly family.