Royal Philips NV has reached out to Chinese rivals to gauge their interest in acquiring its home appliance unit, which could fetch as much as US$4 billion, people with knowledge of the matter said.
The Amsterdam-based company has approached fellow white-goods manufacturers Haier Group Corp (海爾) and Midea Group Co (美的集團) ahead of a formal sale process expected to start in the fourth quarter, the people said, asking not to be identified, as the information is private.
Philips also contacted Turkish household appliance makers Arcelik AS and Vestel to test their appetite for a deal, one of the people said.
Buyout firms Blackstone Group Inc, CVC Capital Partners and KKR & Co are also expected to study the business when the sale begins, the people said.
When Philips was selling its Lumileds lighting components division about five years ago, the business attracted interest from private equity firms, including Apollo Global Management LLC, Bain Capital, CVC, KKR and Onex Corp, people familiar with the matter said at the time.
Representatives for Blackstone, CVC, Haier, KKR, Philips and Vestel declined to comment, while a spokesperson for Midea was not immediately available for comment.
A representative for Arcelik said that the matter is not on the company’s agenda for the moment, without elaborating.
Philips shares fell nearly 1 percent on Tuesday. The AEX, the Netherlands’ benchmark equity index, rose 0.4 percent.
Philips in January said that it plans to sell its home appliances unit, which produces everything from coffee makers to air purifiers, and generates revenue of 2.3 billion euros (US$2.65 billion).
The potential disposal forms part of Philips chief executive officer Frans van Houten’s efforts to revamp Philips into a focused healthcare equipment maker.
Van Houten said on an earnings call on Monday that he expects a sale to be completed in the third quarter of next year.
“This is fundamentally a solid business with market-leading positions and we expect to engage with interested parties after the summer,” he said.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc and JPMorgan Chase & Co are working on the disposal of the appliance unit, Bloomberg News has reported.
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