By Makiko Yamazaki and Reiji Murai TOKYO (Reuters) - Toshiba Corp and Fujitsu Ltd are considering a merger of their personal computer businesses, two people familiar with the matter said on Friday, as the companies look to shed struggling units to overhaul their operations. The Japanese electronics firms are in the early stages of exploring a combination and it is unclear whether a deal will be reached, said the people, who declined to be named because the discussions remained confidential. Toshiba, seeking to raise capital after a $1.3 billion accounting scandal, has already agreed to sell its image sensor business and said it is considering splitting off part of its chip business. The nuclear-to-laptops conglomerate said in a statement on Friday it is considering various possibilities to improve its operations, including business reorganizations with other firms, but nothing had been decided yet. Fujitsu, which announced in October that it intends to split off its PC division, said it is considering various options for the business. The Nikkei business daily reported earlier that Toshiba, Fujitsu and unlisted Vaio Corp, which was spun off from Sony Corp last year, are considering a three-way merger of their PC businesses. The merged company would have just over 30 percent of the Japanese market, overtaking the current top-ranked NEC Lenovo Japan Group, which controls 26.3 percent, the Nikkei said without citing any source for its information. A Vaio spokeswoman dismissed the Nikkei report as speculation, adding that the company was not in talks with anyone about its PC operations. Shares of Fujitsu were up 2.7 percent as of 0200 GMT after gaining as much as 4.6 percent, while Toshiba was down 1.6 percent. (Additional reporting by Anya George Tharakan in Bengaluru; Writing and additional reporting by Chris Gallagher in Tokyo; Editing by Miral Fahmy)
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