(Bloomberg) -- Fujifilm Holdings Corp. is entering the race for Curium Pharma, challenging buyout firms bidding for the French maker of medical imaging supplies in a deal that could fetch at least $3 billion, people familiar with the matter said.

An arm of the Japanese imaging company is among parties pursuing a deal for Curium, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Fujifilm is working with an adviser as it weighs a potential acquisition of the business, which is owned by CapVest Ltd., the people said.

CVC Capital Partners and Bain Capital are among private equity firms that made initial offers for Curium, people with knowledge of the matter said earlier this month. Clayton Dubilier & Rice, Nordic Capital and PAI Partners also submitted first-round bids, according to the people.

The company expects to receive the next round of bids in February, Bloomberg News has reported. No final decisions have been made, and there’s no certainty the deliberations will lead to a transaction, the people said.

Representatives for Fujifilm and CapVest declined to comment.

Curium provides materials used in nuclear medicine to help diagnose cancer as well as heart, brain and bone diseases. The company was created by merging IBA Molecular with a Mallinckrodt Plc business in 2017.

Dealmaking Drive

Last year, Fujifilm bought the shares it didn’t already own in an Asian joint venture with Xerox Holdings Corp. It agreed in December to acquire Hitachi Ltd.’s diagnostics imaging unit for 179 billion yen ($1.6 billion).

Japanese companies have overtaken Chinese firms as the biggest acquirers of overseas assets out of Asia. Fujifilm is among those that have ramped up dealmaking, announcing $3.5 billion of cross-border acquisitions over the past two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Fujifilm makes a range of medical equipment including X-ray machines, mammography equipment, endoscopy tools and in-vitro diagnostics gear. It also sells CT scanners, dental film and other supplies for the health-care industry.

The company has been expanding in the health-care industry to reduce its dependence on its original business of cameras and photographic paper amid the shift toward digital imagery. Fujifilm’s health care and material solutions division segment accounted for 43% of its revenue in the year through March 2019, up from 38% five years earlier, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Shares of Fujifilm fell as much as 1.2% in early Wednesday trading in Tokyo. The stock has risen about 27% in the past year.

(Updates to add Fujifilm’s share performance in last paragraph)

--With assistance from Lisa Du.

To contact the reporters on this story: Dinesh Nair in London at dnair5@bloomberg.net;Manuel Baigorri in Hong Kong at mbaigorri@bloomberg.net;Myriam Balezou in London at mbalezou@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Fion Li at fli59@bloomberg.net;Ben Scent at bscent@bloomberg.net

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