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* Tsubaki Nakashima's market value seen at Y200 bln
* Carlyle to sell at least 1/3 of Tsubaki Nakashima-sources
* Carlyle may launch deal as early as June -sources
By Junko Fujita and Nathan Layne
TOKYO, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Private equity firm Carlyle Group has hired Nomura Holdings Inc and Goldman Sachs to handle the initial public offering of Japanese ball bearing maker Tsubaki Nakashima Co in a deal that could be worth at least 70 billion yen ($873 million), sources with knowledge of the matter said.
The global offering could be launched as early as June, depending on market conditions, the sources said. It would likely rank as the largest IPO in Japan since online gaming firm Nexon Co sold 98 billion yen worth of shares in December.
Carlyle bought Tsubaki Nakashima Co from the principal investment arm of Nomura Holdings a year ago, and had said it planned to take the company public. At that time Tsubaki's enterprise value was estimated at 66 billion yen.
The sources were not authorised to speak publicly about the potential public offering as no concrete plans have been set. The IPO could still be shelved if the stock market weakens, and Carlyle could take the alternative route to exiting its investment by selling Tsubaki to another firm.
Officials for Carlyle, Nomura and Goldman Sachs declined to comment. Tsubaki Nakashima was not immediately available for comment.
Carlyle is expecting Tsubaki to fetch more than 200 billion yen. It wants to sell at least one-third of the company in the IPO, and could look to unload as much as 70 percent depending on pricing and other factors, sources said.
A successful listing of Tsubaki Nakashima could breathe life into Japan's stagnant IPO market, which was depressed last year due to the March 11 earthquake and ensuing nuclear crisis and amid worries about the debt crisis in Europe.
The value of shares sold in initial offerings fell to 165 billion yen in 2011, down 84 percent from a year earlier, with the bulk coming from the Nexon IPO, according to Thomson Reuters data.
In addition to Tsubaki Nakashima, Carlyle may also may look to revive the initial public offering of AvanStrate Inc, a maker of glass used to make liquid crystal displays. Last year when it was planning for that IPO the size was estimated at 31 billion yen.
The buyout fund, which manages a 215.6 billion yen fund designated for Japanese investment, is offloading other assets as well. In August it sold the wafer unit of Japan's Covalent Materials to Taiwanese solar wafer maker Sino-American Sillicon Products Inc. Carlyle invested in the company with Japan's Unison Capital in 2007.
Earlier this month Carlyle also sold Talaris, a British provider of cash-counting equipment, to its Japanese rival Glory Ltd for 650 million pounds ($1.02 billion), twice the value of its original investment.
Glory was held by Carlyle's fund for European investments.