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Japan Display taps banks with eye to 2014 IPO: sources
TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan Display Inc, created in a three-way merger of the small liquid crystal display operations of Sony Corp (6758.T), Hitachi Ltd (6501.T) and Toshiba Corp (6502.T), has chosen investment banks to take it public as early as the first quarter of 2014, sources with knowledge of the matter said.
The initial public offering (IPO), which will be marketed globally, will likely raise at least 100 billion yen ($1.3 billion) for Japan Display and a state-backed fund that is the firm's top shareholder, the sources said.
Japan Display has tapped Goldman Sachs (GS.N), Nomura Securities (8604.T) and Morgan Stanley (MS.N) as joint global coordinators on the IPO, the sources said.
The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because the hiring of banks has not been made public. Japan Display and representatives of the three investment banks declined to comment.
A listing in early 2014 would mark an acceleration of the company's original plans. When Japan Display launched operations in April, chief executive Shuichi Otsuka said he would aim for an IPO by the financial year ending in March 2016.
The move to fast-track the process reflects the company's solid earnings performance since its launch. Japan Display is a supplier of panels for Apple Inc's (AAPL.O) iPhone and has benefited from strong demand for that and other smartphones.
A listing would allow Japan Display to sell new shares, raising funds to make the heavy investments in research and factories needed to stay competitive against South Korean, Taiwanese and Chinese rivals.
An IPO would also create an avenue for the Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ), a state fund which put 200 billion yen into the company, to sell down some of its 70 percent stake. INCJ declined to comment.
The INCJ's interest values the entire company at about 285 billion yen.
($1 = 79.8200 Japanese yen)
(Reporting by Emi Emoto and Nathan Layne; Editing by Michael Watson)
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