Toshiba, KKR eye Panasonic Corp's healthcare business: report

Toshiba Corp and US private equity firm KKR are among those expected to bid for Panasonic Corp's healthcare business, Reuters today reported, citing financial sources with knowledge of the matter as saying.

The troubled consumer electronics maker, which wants to end losses in its flat-panel television business, has hired Bank of America Merrill Lynch as advisors to the sale of its healthcare unit, and is seeking as much as $1 billion.

Last week, Tokyo-based Kyodo News had reported that Panasonic is planning to sell its healthcare business to Japanese and foreign manufacturers as well as investment fund firms, for about 100 billion yen ($1.05 billion).

The paper had added that Panasonic, Japan's second-largest TV maker, wants to sell the entire business to one buyer, although it will also consider selling it off in parts.

Panasonic's healthcare unit comprises of electronic medical chart systems, hearing aids and blood-sugar monitoring devices. It had reported an operating profit of 8.7 billion yen for 2012, on revenue of 134.3billion yen.

Panasonic has set a Monday deadline for first-round bids, and aims to narrow the field to two or three bidders in June. It will conduct a second round of bidding in July and enter exclusive talks with one firm around August, the report said.