By Junko Fujita, Arno Schuetze and Christoph Steitz
TOKYO/FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Thyssenkrupp <TKAG.DE> plans to give potential bidders access to the data room of its elevator division in the coming days, three people familiar with the matter said, as one of Europe’s biggest M&A deals of the year picks up pace.
Japan’s Hitachi <6501.T> is working with investment bank Barclays <BARC.L> to explore a bid for the unit, which is valued anywhere between 12 billion and 17 billion euros ($13.2-$18.7 billion), the people said.
Apart from Hitachi, access will be granted to Finland’s Kone <KNEBV.HE>, Blackstone <BX.N>, CVC [CVC.UL] and Carlyle <CG.O> as well as a consortium consisting of Advent, Cinven [CINV.UL] and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, they added.
All parties declined to comment or were not immediately available for comment.
Thyssenkrupp shares briefly turned positive on the news before trading 0.4% lower at 1501 GMT.
Sources told Reuters last month that tentative bids were due at the end of October.
Given that rival elevator makers will be able to reap synergies from a deal, industry players are expected to bid higher prices than private equity firms, which will likely value the asset closer to the lower end of the range.
The full or partial sale of Thyssenkrupp Elevator Technology (ET) forms the core of a restructuring plan for the ailing German conglomerate, which has suffered a loss in investor confidence after four profit warnings.
In a sign of how serious the situation has become, Chairwoman Martina Merz this month took over as interim chief executive, hoping to speed up a plan to reduce the group’s complex set-up, a long-term target of investor criticism.
On Tuesday, Merz briefed top managers at the group about efforts to slim down, including job cuts in administration, where the group spends more than 2 billion euros every year.
Proceeds from a sale of ET are badly needed by the group to cut liabilities and pay for a restructuring that will likely result in the disposal of further assets in its struggling plant engineering, car parts and shipbuilding divisions.
The vice chairman of ET’s supervisory board said Thyssenkrupp needed to keep a majority stake in the division to make sure it can benefit from future cash streams in a bid to fund the company’s turnaround.
(Editing by Tassilo Hummel and Mark Potter)