By Atsuko Fukase
TOKYO — Fujifilm Holdings Corp. and Canon Inc. have the best chance to acquire Toshiba Corp.’s medical-device business, with the race nearing the finish line on a possible $6 billion deal, people familiar with the matter said.
The second round of bidding closes Friday and Toshiba /quotes/zigman/198925/delayed JP:6502 +22.32% will likely select one bidder as early as next week to enter exclusive talks, one of the people said. Some people familiar with the talks said Fujifilm /quotes/zigman/192939/delayed JP:4901 -0.67% was eager to buy a 100% stake and had an edge, although they cautioned it was too early to project a winner.
They said Toshiba /quotes/zigman/198925/delayed JP:6502 +22.32% anticipated that it could bring in about ¥700 billion ($6 billion) through the sale, which aims to shore up the electronics maker’s finances after an accounting scandal last year. It wasn’t clear whether the deal value might include the buyer assuming some of Toshiba’s debt.
The strong interest at a time of turmoil in financial markets illustrates the hope Japanese companies are placing in the medical business as a rare area of growth in an aging society. Fujifilm and Canon, once known as leaders in the Japanese camera industry, now have significant medical-imaging businesses.