Panasonic Said to Sell Health Unit to KKR for $1.5 Bln

Panasonic Corp. is poised to agree to sell its health-care unit to KKR & Co. for about 150 billion yen ($1.5 billion) today, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

The Japanese electronics company will sell about 80 percent of Panasonic Healthcare Co. to the U.S. private equity firm and keep 20 percent, the people said, asking not to be named before a statement scheduled for release later today.

Panasonic Healthcare, which provides digital medical record systems and makes instruments that measure blood glucose, would be KKR’s biggest acquisition in Japan, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Osaka-based Panasonic is selling control of the unit as it focuses on a 250 billion-yen plan to reverse losses at its electronics business in the next two years.

The Nikkei newspaper reported the transaction earlier today. Chieko Gyobu, a spokeswoman for Panasonic in Tokyo, declined to comment on the sale, as did a spokesman for KKR in the Japanese capital.

New York-based KKR got preferential negotiating rights after two rounds of bidding for Panasonic Healthcare, three people with knowledge of the matter said earlier this month.

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