Toshiba has named a consortium led by Japan Industrial Partners as the preferred bidder to buy the iconic company, according to people familiar with the situation.
Private equity firm JIP planned to buy Toshiba in partnership with several domestic companies, including Orix and Chubu Electric Power, they said. The people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private, thought the sale to JIP would keep the company as a single entity.
The talks are ongoing and no final decision has been made, the people said. Other bidders remained interested in the property, they added. Toshiba spokeswoman Midori Hara declined to comment on the matter, saying it could undermine a fair process. JIP was not immediately available for comment. Representatives for both Chubu Electric and Orix declined to comment.
The Nikkei newspaper previously reported that JIP was Toshiba’s preferred bidder. Toshiba shares rose 3.5% in Tokyo on Wednesday.
The conglomerate was looking for strategic proposals for the future, including possible takeovers. It aimed for second-round bids by the end of September, people familiar with the process told Bloomberg last month. The people said Japan Investment Corp. led a rival group to JIP, and other investors, including Bain Capital and MBK Partners, were in talks to participate in its bid.
The Nikkei said JIP is expected to have a month to negotiate with Toshiba, and it is unclear whether it will be able to agree on terms during that time.