(Bloomberg) -- Hitachi Ltd. is planning to sell its 40% stake in an air-conditioning joint venture with Johnson Controls International Plc, according to people familiar with the matter. 

Such a move would likely mean an outright sale of Johnson Controls-Hitachi Air Conditioning. Johnson, which owns the other 60%, has for months been exploring a sale of its heating and ventilation assets, including the joint venture. 

A deal could value the joint venture at almost 500 billion yen ($3.2 billion), the people said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information. Considerations are at an early stage, they said. 

A representative for Hitachi said no decision has been made at this point, and that the company is considering ways to “enhance its corporate value.”  

Hitachi has first right of refusal on Johnson’s stake in the joint venture, Bloomberg News has reported previously. 

Johnson Controls-Hitachi Air Conditioning was established in 2015 and has a head office in Tokyo. It has a partnership with China’s Hisense Home Appliances Group Co. named Qingdao Hisense Hitachi Air-Conditioning Systems Co.  

Hitachi’s shares have climbed almost 90% in Tokyo over the past 12 months, while Milwaukee-based Johnson has advanced 5.5% in New York. 

--With assistance from Tsuyoshi Inajima.

(Updates with response from Hitachi in fourth paragraph.)

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