Fujifilm and Canon top contenders to buy Toshiba's medical-device business

Fujifilm Holdings Corp and Canon Inc are top contenders to buy Toshiba Corp's medical-device business worth around $6 billion, The Wall Street Journal Today reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The second round of bidding is expected to close today and Toshiba is likely to select one bidder as early as next week to enter exclusive talks, the report said.

Fujifilm is keen to buy the whole unit and has an edge, the report added.

Toshiba had in December said it was considering the sale of Toshiba Medical Systems Corp in order to focus on its semiconductor and nuclear power businesses.

Toshiba Medical Systems manufactures medical equipment, including diagnostic X-ray systems, medical X-ray CT systems, magnetic resonance imaging systems, diagnostic ultrasound systems, radiation therapy systems, diagnostic nuclear medicine systems, medical sample testing equipment, and supplies information systems for medical equipment.

Toshiba, whose business presence spans a wide range of sectors from home electronics to nuclear power stations, is recently recovering from a $1.2-billion accounting scandal that forced the company to restate earnings for more than six years.

Top executives of the company had set unrealistic profit targets that systematically led to flawed accounting. An investigation had found that accounting irregularities were ''skillfully'' hidden from outside observers.

The Tokyo-based company sold its image sensor business to Sony Corp, its 4.6-per cent stake in Finnish elevator maker Kone Oyj for $946 million, and has also started the process of selling part of its loss making chip business as part of its restructuring plan.