TOKYO -- Hitachi has made an acquisition proposal for Swiss smart meter maker Landis+Gyr, a Toshiba subsidiary, sources told The Nikkei. The offer, put forth with U.K. private equity firm CVC Capital Partners, is believed to be worth around 200 billion yen ($1.82 billion).
The Swiss company is likely to be a target for other suitors as well.
Toshiba, together with the Innovation Network Corporation of Japan, purchased Landis in 2011 for $2.3 billion. Toshiba and the public-private fund currently own 60% and 40% stakes, respectively.
Now, Toshiba is preparing to offload Landis+Gyr as it scurries to weather massive losses from U.S. nuclear arm Westinghouse Electric.
Hitachi and CVC formed a group for the bidding, with Hitachi holding a 10% to 20% stake and CVC controlling the majority. They have apparently proposed a plan in which the INCJ would retain a certain interest in the Swiss company.
Hitachi likely intends to capitalize on Landis' customer base in the U.S. through the acquisition.
Japan's Fuji Electric, which also produces smart meters, is thinking about purchasing Landis as well, as part of its overseas expansion. Smart meters help to optimize electricity use and are a key facet of smart grids.
Toshiba wants to sell Landis to help mitigate risks to its overall overseas businesses. It has also begun considering a write-down of Landis' book value.
A Toshiba official said earlier that the company is "considering various strategic options [about Landis], including an IPO."