TOKYO, May 11 (Reuters) - Japan's Seibu Holdings has hired five investment banks including Nomura Holdings and Mizuho Securities to handle its planned initial public offering, which could value the railway and property firm as high as 1 trillion yen ($12.5 billion), people with direct knowledge of the matter said.
The company, whose shares were delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange in 2004 after it was found to have falsified shareholder records, is planning to launch the IPO as early as the last quarter of this year, the four people said.
JPMorgan Chase & Co, UBS AG and Bank of America Merrill Lynch have also been retained to handle the offering, which will likely rank as one of Japan's largest IPOs in recent years, the people said.
They spoke on condition of anonymity as the choice of underwriters has not been made public.
Seibu declined to comment on whether it had hired underwriters for its IPO. At an earnings briefing on Friday company officials reiterated that it was preparing to re-list its shares, but that nothing concrete had been decided.
Seibu is owned 30 percent by U.S. investment fund Cerberus , which led a bailout of the company in 2005.
There is not yet a consensus on what Seibu, which runs a railway network and hotel chains, might be worth as a public company.
According to one of the people, estimates have ranged from 300 billion yen, which would put it roughly in line with other public transport firms with a price-to-book ratio of 1.4, to as high as 1 trillion yen.
Cerberus is expected to sell some of its shares. Other shareholders include Japan's state-owned bank Development Bank of Japan, Citigroup Capital Partners, an investment arm of Citigroup Inc, Mizuho Corporate Bank and a railway operator Keikyu Corp, according to Seibu's public filing.