TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Hitachi Ltd 6501.T has narrowed suitors for its $6.8 billion chemical unit to a handful of companies including Bain Capital and Carlyle Group LP CG.O, people with knowledge of the deal said.
Bain is teaming up with Tokyo-based private equity firm Japan Industrial Partners in its offer, the people said, adding that Nitto Denko Corp 6988.T, a maker of materials for chips and automotive products, is also among the shortlisted bidders for Hitachi Chemical Co 4217.T.
The companies have been asked to submit offers in the second round of bidding by next month, two of four sources said.
The list will be cut to two bidders by the end of the year, with the winning bid selected in the new year, said one of the sources.
Each bidder is seeking to buy all shares in Hitachi Chemical, which is 51.2% owned by Hitachi, a separate source said.
The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the information has not been made public. All of the companies declined to comment.
Hitachi has been among the most aggressive of Japan’s conglomerates in reorganizing its business, selling non-core assets while buying foreign businesses to expand overseas.
Other divestitures include chip equipment maker Hitachi Kokusai Electric and power tool unit Hitachi Koki.
Hitachi Chemical, which makes materials for semiconductors, displays and lithium-ion batteries, has a current market value of 733 billion yen ($6.8 billion). Its shares have risen about 80% in the past 12 months, partly due to speculation of a bidding war.
As part of its efforts to expand overseas, Hitachi is exploring a bid for the elevator division of Germany's Thyssenkrupp TKAG.DE, a business valued anywhere between 12 billion and 17 billion euros ($13.2-$18.7 billion), financial sources have said.
Reporting by Junko Fujita and Takaya Yamaguchi; Additional reporting by Noriyuki Hirata; Editing by David Dolan and Edwina Gibbs
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.