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Japan's NEC to sell Internet provider Biglobe: sources

NEC Corp's logos are pictured during a news conference in Tokyo October 26, 2012. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao
NEC Corp's logos are pictured during a news conference in Tokyo October 26, 2012. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese systems integrator NEC Corp has launched a sale process for its Internet service provider NEC Biglobe that is expected to fetch tens of billions of yen (hundreds of millions of dollars), sources familiar with the situation said on Thursday.

The first round of bidding for a potential buyer will be held as early as November, the sources said.

NEC had no immediate comment.

Biglobe, which claims 3 million users and is one of Japan's largest Internet service providers, posted sales of 84.1 billion yen ($865.27 million) in the latest year to March.

Financially strapped NEC is focusing on its systems integration business and shedding unprofitable operations, aiming for a turnaround in its fortunes after posting a 110 billion yen loss two years ago.

It has merged its personal computer operations into a venture majority-owned by Lenovo Group Ltd and in July announced plans to wind down its smartphone business, reducing operational synergies with its Internet provider arm.

($1 = 97.1950 Japanese yen)

(Reporting by Taro Fuse; Writing by Edmund Klamann)

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