Dutch technology company Philips announced Tuesday it will sell “at least 25 percent” of its lighting business on the stock market to focus on its medical equipment division. The company’s lighting division is the world’s largest manufacturer of lights and in 2015, had sales of over $8.5 billion.
The company decided to take the initial public offering (IPO) route after it failed to find a buyer despite searching for months. Philips had first announced its intention to split off its lighting business as a standalone entity in September 2014, and had announced IPO plans for it in March 2015.
The public shares of the currently privately held company — Philips holds all shares of the lighting business at the moment — will be listed on the Euronext Amsterdam exchange. After the initial tranche of at least 25 percent shares being offered, Philips aims to “fully sell down over the next several years” as it focuses on its healthcare business, according to a statement.
Philips CEO Frans van Houten said in the statement: “We believe Philips Lighting’s future status as a listed entity will strengthen its position as a global market leader in connected LED lighting solutions. At the same time, Royal Philips will focus on the exciting and fast growing health technology market.”
Philips has also been in talks with other companies, including a private equity firm and a Chinese group, for a possible sale of the lighting business, but reportedly turned down offers due to lower-than-expected bids.