Toshiba, TPG said to bid on Panasonic's billion-dollar health biz

While rivals Sony ($SNE) and Olympus ($OCPNY) pool their med tech resources, Panasonic is trying to get out of the healthcare business, and Toshiba and TPG Capital have bid on the company's billion-dollar segment, Bloomberg reports.

Citing sources close to the negotiations, the news service reports that fewer than 10 bidders tendered offers in the first round of an auction for Panasonic's healthcare unit, which could go for about $978 million. The next round will conclude in July, a source told Bloomberg, and Panasonic expects to have narrowed its suitors down to one by August.

Panasonic is looking to spend about $25 million on restructuring over the next two years, Bloomberg notes, and cashing out of healthcare would give the tech giant some room to breathe as it looks to reverse the fortunes of its TV and semiconductor businesses.

The company's health division includes ultrasound devices, blood glucose monitors and pain-relief laser devices, and, for Toshiba, buying in would diversify its offerings as it faces many of the same pressures in consumer electronics. TPG, fresh off a nearly $1 billion IPO for ex-acquiree Quintiles ($Q), may be looking to foster another future public company out of Panasonic's division, or the private equity giant could have its eye on further breaking up the business.

Meanwhile, fellow struggling Japanese giants Sony and Olympus finally launched their long-planned joint venture last month, banding together to sell endoscopes and imaging technologies around the world. Much like Panasonic, the two are hoping to offset declining returns in their banner business, and, come August, we'll see whose strategy was wisest.

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