Long before activist investors swooped into Japan to shake up conglomerates saddled with losses and legacy assets, Hitachi Ltd. managed to do it on its own, selling off more than ¥2 trillion ($18 billion) worth of businesses in the past five years under Chief Executive Officer Toshiaki Higashihara.

The result? A market value that’s more than doubled to ¥6.2 trillion ($54 billion), second only to Sony Group Corp. among Japanese electronics makers and roughly equal to the next two competitors — Panasonic Corp. and Mitsubishi Electric Corp. — combined.

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