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21 September 2017, 12:58 | Gordon Grant
Toshiba said to have selected Bain-SK Hynix group to buy its memory business
Apple uses Toshiba's flash memory in its iPhones and iPods.
Toshiba is selling its memory-chip division to help cover big losses at US nuclear business Westinghouse, which filed for bankruptcy in March. The deal is costing US$18 billion and Toshiba expects to complete the process by March 31, 2018. However, it is unclear how the legal action brought by Western Digital - which contends that Toshiba needs SanDisk's permission to sell the unit - would affect the potential sale. The seller has suedWestern Digital for $1 billion for its interference, and the battle is yet unresolved. A Western Digital spokesman declined comment. Shares of Western Digital fell as much as 6.5 percent Wednesday to $84.12.
"We still have many upcoming procedures ahead of us, including a contract signing and working out various negotiations", he said. If not, however, Toshiba will hold on to three joint ventures it has with WD and revise Bain's purchase price accordingly. One consortium included Bain Capital, the Innovation Network Corporation of Japan and the Development Bank of Japan. Similarly, a bid led by equity group KKR and Western Digital did not progress.
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The decision was made at a board meeting following a last-minute bid by Western Digital, which jointly invests in Toshiba's Yokkaichi flash memory plant. Today a Korean news site is claiming that Toshiba has picked the Bain, Sk Hynix and Apple group to sell its memory unit to. The company said the cases "continue to move forward", but did not say when it expects the arbitration hearing.
The auction has gone through dizzying twists and turns. But the MOU didn't preclude Toshiba from continuing to negotiate with other bidders.
Bain then revised its offer too. Apple, Dell and other USA tech firms have also reportedly joined the consortium.
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