By Junko Fujita and Kane Wu
TOKYO/HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hitachi Ltd <6501.T> plans to launch a sale of its materials unit as early as next month in a deal that could be worth more than 700 billion yen ($6.6 billion), three people with knowledge of the matter said. Hitachi is planning to sell its 53% stake in Hitachi Metals Ltd <5486.T>, which makes components for cars and industrial equipment, said the sources who declined to be named as they were not authorised to speak to the media.
Other minority shareholders in the Hitachi unit are expected to sell their stakes to a winning bidder, the sources said, adding that Hitachi Metals would eventually be delisted from the Tokyo bourse.
Hitachi Metals had a market value of about 700 billion yen ($6.63 billion) based on Tuesday’s close. A buyout would exceed that amount given a premium would be expected.