TOKYO Toshiba Corp (6502.T) plans an extraordinary executive meeting on Wednesday, indicating the troubled conglomerate will settle on a preferred bidder for its healthcare unit, two people with knowledge of the process said on Monday.
Canon Inc (7751.T) and Fujifilm Holdings Corp (4901.T) are considered the front-runners with the highest bids, three people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
Toshiba, seeking to shore up its capital after a $1.3 billion accounting scandal, is selling Toshiba Medical Systems Corp. The second round of bidding to grant preferred negotiation rights ended on Friday.
A Toshiba spokesman had no comment on the sale process.
Konica Minolta Inc (4902.T), in partnership with European private equity firm Permira [PERM.UL], also remains in the bidding, one person said.
The companies have been competing aggressively to buy the medical-equipment maker to broaden their revenue sources.
U.S. buyout firm KKR Co (KKR.N), which had teamed up with Japanese trading house Mitsui Co (8031.T) has withdrawn from the race as the expected sale price rose too high to justify the return, another source said.
The sources asked not to be identified because they are not authorized to speak to the media.
Toshiba is selling Toshiba Medical as part of a massive restructuring after the laptops-to-nuclear company admitted to overstating profits from 2009. The costs of this revamp have forced Toshiba to ask three major Japanese banks for additional loans of about 200 billion yen ($1.8 billion), sources have told Reuters.
Toshiba Medical, which makes diagnostic equipment such as X-ray and magnetic resonance imaging systems, is the world’s second-biggest manufacturer of CT scan machines. It had annual revenues of 405.6 billion yen in the financial year ended March 2015.
(Reporting by Junko Fujita and Kentaro Hamada; Additional reporting by Emi Emoto; Editing by William Mallard and Keith Weir)