Three individuals with direct knowledge of the subject told Reuters that Japan’s Olympus Corp is close to selling its microscope arm to a private equity company in a deal that could fetch more than 300 billion yen ($2.2 billion).
Bain Capital has emerged as the frontrunner, according to two people with intimate knowledge of the transaction.
This month, Carlyle Group (NASDAQ:CG) and KKR & Co (NYSE:KKR) also lodged binding bids for the unit that manufactures microscopes, industrial endoscopes, and x-ray analysers, according to three sources with direct knowledge.
According to Refinitiv statistics, if this transaction is completed, it will be the company’s largest divestiture to date. Olympus has been reorganizing in recent years with the intent of focusing entirely on medical technology.
A spokesperson for Olympus stated that no decisions have been made at this time and that the business will make announcements as appropriate, declining to provide any information.
KKR, Bain, and Carlyle declined to comment. All sources declined to be identified due to the secret nature of the material.
In April, Olympus, which began as a domestic microscope manufacturer more than a century ago, split off the unit and renamed it Evident Corp.
At the end of March, Evident’s total assets were valued at 143,3 billion yen, and the company projects an operating profit of 26.5 billion yen for the current fiscal year.
As part of its restructuring, Olympus has allowed activist investor ValueAct Capital onto its board, acquired several overseas medical-equipment companies, and sold its long-losing digital camera business.