Private equity firm KKR & Co. is exploring an offer for Toshiba Corp., according to a person familiar with the matter, in a move that could start a bidding war for the storied Japanese conglomerate. Shares surged.

KKR is weighing a bid that would be likely to value Toshiba above the US$21 billion buyout proposal that it’s already received from CVC Capital Partners, said the person, who asked not to be identified as the details aren’t public. Canadian investment giant Brookfield Asset Management Inc. is also in the preliminarily stages of exploring an offer for the company, including how such a bid might be structured, a separate person with knowledge of the matter said.

Toshiba shares rose as much as 7.1 per cent, pushing their increase for the year to about 70 per cent.

The deliberations are at an early stage, no final decisions have been made, and the discussions may not lead to firm offers, the people said.

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Source: BNN Bloomberg