Ailing JVC up for grabs

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Ailing JVC up for grabs

Rewind for VHS inventor expected.

Struggling Japanese consumer electronics manufacturer JVC may find a buyer as soon as this week, according to sources in Japan. 

Two foreign private equity firms are planning bids for the firm, according to unnamed sources quoted by Japanese media.

A takeover of JVC has been expected for some months. The company had its heyday in the 1970s and 1980s when it triumphed over Sony's Betamax home video recording system with its own hugely-popular VHS technology. 

However, JVC's fortunes have declined in recent years, and its drooping share price has become a drain on the finances of long-term investor Matsushita Group. Matsushita holds 53 per cent of JVC, currently worth $730m. 

JVC announced recently that it expects to report zero profit for the financial year ending 31 March.

However, Matsuhita, owner of the Panasonic brand, is reported to be wary of releasing its ailing partner into the arms of an Asian rival.

JVC has deep roots in Japan's manufacturing heartland, where it has been building electronics and electrical products for more than 70 years.

The company has been severely wounded by the shift in production of LCD TVs and DVD players to low cost mass manufacturers in China and other countries.

Analysts in Japan suggested that JVC was slow to cut its Japanese manufacturing ties, and has not been able to ramp up production high enough, or cut costs low enough, to compete with the new leaders in its core markets.

In Tokyo trading today, JVC shares rose slightly on news of the possible takeover bids.
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