Toshiba is among bidders vying to buy Swiss smart metering company Landis+Gyr, the Nikkei business daily reported, in an auction that sources have said could fetch as much as $2bn.
Landis+Gyr, based in the Swiss city of Zug, has drawn initial bids from GE and several private equity firms, according to Reuters. Honeywell International and Swiss engineering firm ABB have also expressed interest.
Toshiba spokesman Keisuke Ohmori declined to confirm or deny the report. "We are considering various ways to expand the smart grid business, but cannot comment on specific projects," he said.
Landis+Gyr, which makes advanced, or "smart" meters used for measuring power and other energy use, has hired Credit Suisse and Lazard Ltd to advise on a potential sale of the company.
Toshiba may partner with public-private fund Innovation Network Corp of Japan or with US and European firms if its bid is accepted, the Nikkei said.
Landis+Gyr, which competes with companies such as Itron Inc and EnerNoc Inc, has about $200m in annual earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) on roughly $1.5bn in annual revenue.
Landis+Gyr is owned by several investors including Bayard Capital of Australia after going through a series of different owners including Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co and Siemens in the 1990s and early 2000s. Founded in 1896, the company has more than 5000 employees and operates in 30 countries.