Metro General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld informed board members of the decision in a letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post.

Terms of the contract have not been finalized, and Metro declined to comment further because the two sides are in negotiations.

“The 8000-Series rail car procurement process remains active, and we are unable to comment at this stage of the process,” Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said. “We are excited to share information with Metro riders as soon as a contract is awarded.”

Metro plans to order 256 cars, with an option to purchase up to 800. The transit agency told bidders that it will incentivize the building of a local assembly plant for the project, which could potentially last beyond the transit agency’s contract and become a source of new rail cars and jobs for years.

Hitachi Global is a more than 100-year-old Japan-based corporation with rail subsidiaries based across the world. Its main rail headquarters is in Italy. The Washington-based limited liability corporation is a new entity. Records show that the LLC was founded and based in Medley, Fla., in May 2019, according to business data provider Dun & Bradstreet. The lone employee listed in records is Giampaolo Nuonno, the chief executive of Hitachi Rail USA.

Metro’s long search for a manufacturer of the 8000 Series has been an eventful one, marked by protests from lobbyist groups, overtures from a controversial Chinese rail manufacturer and even the passage of a federal law that limited who the transit agency could partner with for the deal.

The new cars will be Metro’s eighth iteration rail car since the system opened 44 years ago. In selecting Hitachi Rail, Metro is turning to a familiar maker. Three of its first four models of rail cars were built by

By Junko Fujita and Kane Wu

TOKYO/HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hitachi Ltd <6501.T> plans to launch a sale of its materials unit as early as next month in a deal that could be worth more than 700 billion yen ($6.6 billion), three people with knowledge of the matter said. Hitachi is planning to sell its 53% stake in Hitachi Metals Ltd <5486.T>, which makes components for cars and industrial equipment, said the sources who declined to be named as they were not authorised to speak to the media.

Other minority shareholders in the Hitachi unit are expected to sell their stakes to a winning bidder, the sources said, adding that Hitachi Metals would eventually be delisted from the Tokyo bourse.

Hitachi Metals had a market value of about 700 billion yen ($6.63 billion) based on Tuesday’s close. A buyout would exceed that amount given a premium would be expected.

Hitachi has retained Goldman Sachs Group <GS.N> to advise on the sale while Hitachi Metals has hired Bank of America <BAC.N>, the people said. Spokespeople for the two banks declined to comment.

Hitachi and Hitachi Metals declined to comment. The conglomerate said in August it was considering various options for the metals unit.

Japanese conglomerates are driving the country’s M&A rebound as they reorganise. Deals taking businesses private have amounted to $41.8 billion this year, up 34% year on year, according to Dealogic.

On Tuesday state-backed Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp (NTT) <9432.T> announced it planned to take its wireless carrier business NTT Docomo Inc <9437.T> private in a deal worth 4.25 trillion yen.

The sale of Hitachi Metals is the latest of Hitachi’s divestiture of businesses.

Hitachi sold chemical unit Hitachi Chemical Co to Showa Denko <4004.T> and a diagnostic imaging business to Fujifilm Holdings Corp <4901.T> in December last