Apple joins Bain consortium's last-minute bid for Toshiba chip unit

by Harriet Bell September 1, 2017, 1:53
Apple joins Bain consortium's last-minute bid for Toshiba chip unit

Earlier reports said Toshiba received a last-minute proposal from a consortium led by USA investment fund Bain Capital, which Toshiba had initially picked as its preferred bidder.

Toshiba said it has yet to decide on a buyer for its memory chip business. However sources have said that Western Digital is working to get its proposal up to the same figure as Bain's. Still in the running are groups led by Western Digital, Hon Hai Precision Manufacturing, and Bain Capital and two Japanese government-backed funds. Western Digital claims that it has final say on any deal since it has agreed to build a flash memory chip plant with Toshiba in Yokkaichi, Japan.

Toshiba will talk through the potential sale later today and whoever ends up buying the business, it's likely the company will want a quick sale so it isn't thrown off the Tokyo Stock exchange for failing to make up the $4.5bn losses caused by its nuclear unit. Apple is said to be interested in the business because it would give it greater control over its supply chain.

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Sources spoke to the Reuters news agency confirming that this new offer comes as the Toshiba and Western Digital, its joint venture partner for its chip business, are struggling to close a deal.

A Bain-led group had previously been chosen by Toshiba as its preferred bidder.

Toshiba is the world's second-biggest maker of memory chips after Samsung.

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Sources familiar the matter have said talks with Western Digital were in final stages but the two sides were struggling to come to an agreement over the USA company's future stake in the business.

Bain's revised bid was first reported by Japanese broadcaster NHK which said it would be structured so that Bain and Toshiba would each hold 46 percent of the unit.

"That clearly appeals to Toshiba's impatient lenders but there are fundamental differences to resolve and it is still some way from producing a deal that Toshiba could sign". Western Digital has also initiated legal action that threatens to derail any deal that does not have its consent. Toshiba and Western Digital combined could be as a large as Samsung's memory division. Representatives for Bain and Apple were not immediately available for comment.

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