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State-backed Toshiba suitor boosts buyout fund size to $6 billion-plus

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Toshiba Corp is displayed atop of the company's facility building in Kawasaki, Japan

By Takaya Yamaguchi and Makiko Yamazaki

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan Investment Corp (JIC), a potential bidder for Toshiba Corp, has expanded the size of its buyout fund by 4.5 times to 900 billion yen ($6.11 billion), a spokesperson for the state-backed investment firm said on Wednesday.

JIC heads a consortium that has been preparing a bid, sources have said.

It faces competition from private equity firm Japan Industrial Partners (JIP), which other sources say is having difficulty securing sufficient equity commitments from potential consortium partners.

JIC received approval for the fund boost from the industry ministry on Oct 27, the spokesperson said.

Japan has seen more large-scale buyouts in recent years, and the expansion is designed to allow JIC's private equity arm to handle such deals, he said.

But JIC does not have specific investment targets in mind, and would not comment on individual deals, he added.

JIP was granted preferred bidder status by Toshiba in a second round of bidding last month, though the conglomerate is still open to proposals from others.

JIC has been in talks with Bain Capital, one of several overseas funds that passed the first round of bidding, as well as with MBK Partners, sources have said.

($1 = 147.2900 yen)

(Reporting by Takaya Yamaguchi and Makiko Yamazaki; editing by Jason Neely and John Stonestreet)