Fujifilm Questions Toshiba's Choice of Canon in Medical Deal

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  • Fujifilm asks for details, questions deal completion timeline
  • Canon has exclusive negotiation rights until March 18

Fujifilm Holdings Corp. is raising questions over Toshiba Corp.’s decision to go forward with a sale of its medical-equipment to Canon Inc. after losing out in a bid to buy the business.

“We would like further details on how the decision was made to grant Canon exclusive negotiation rights,” Fujifilm said in a statement on Thursday. Earlier this month, Toshiba entered final talks with the maker of printers, photocopiers and cameras for a deal that could be worth more than 700 billion yen ($6.2 billion). Fujifilm also cast doubt on Toshiba’s plan to complete the agreement by the end of the fiscal year this month, citing the length of time usually needed to clear antitrust scrutiny.

Toshiba is under pressure to raise money as it deals with fallout of an accounting scandal that left the Japanese conglomerate in tatters, facing record losses, job cuts and potential spinoffs. The Tokyo-based company granted Canon exclusive negotiation rights on March 9, passing over Fujifilm. Another bidding group led by Konica Minolta Inc. was dropped after it offered less than was being sought. Masashi Muromachi, Toshiba’s president, is divesting the medical unit, cutting jobs and considering a reorganization of its personal-computer and TV operations as the company forecast a record loss for the fiscal year.

“There is no reason to believe that the selection process wasn’t fair and that Canon is paying an unfairly low price,” said Damian Thong, an analyst at Macquarie Group Ltd. in Tokyo. “It would still be interesting to see how Toshiba responds.”

Takao Aoki, a spokesman for Fujifilm, confirmed the company’s participation in the bidding process. The Tokyo-based company said it expects answers to its questions to be delivered by 3 p.m. in Tokyo on Thursday.

Kaori Hiraki, a spokeswoman for Toshiba, and Jun Misumi, a spokesman for Tokyo-based Canon, declined to comment. Canon’s exclusive right to negotiate with Toshiba expires Friday, March 18.

Suitors for the business, Japan’s largest medical equipment company, were told they needed to offer more than 700 billion yen, people familiar with the matter have said. Toshiba’s health-care division, which includes medical equipment and other businesses that Toshiba doesn’t plan to sell, had sales of 409.5 billion yen in the previous fiscal year ending March 2015 and operating income of 23.9 billion yen, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Toshiba’s shares climbed 2.7 percent to 214 yen as of the midday break in Tokyo. Canon fell 0.7 percent, while Fujifilm rose 1.3 percent.