Toshiba misses deadline for chip unit sale again, says still in talks
01 September, 2017, 01:46 | Author: Darnell Patrick
The last-ditch effort came as Toshiba's board had been expected Thursday to confirm its plan to sell Toshiba Memory to a group led by Western Digital Corp that also includes US investment fund Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.as well as the INCJ and DBJ. Earlier reports said Bain brought Apple into the bidding group to stay in the running as Toshiba leaned toward a deal with Western Digital.
In a statement Toshiba said it had made its best effort to reach a mutually satisfactory definitive agreement with one of the consortia but that the negotiation with each of the consortia had not progressed sufficiently to allow Toshiba's board to make a decision.
Combined, Toshiba and Western Digital could be nearly as large as Samsung's memory unit, which could give a combined company more negotiating leverage against Apple. Toshiba said it was unable to reach a decision for its Aug 31 board of directors meeting and intends to continue discussions with the groups of bidders.
Toshiba's relationship with Western Digital, its joint venture partner for its chip business, has been rocky throughout the auction process - to the point that other bidders were favored first while the US firm has also initiated legal action that threatens to derail any deal that does not have its consent.
Toshiba disagrees, and it has attempted to cut out Western Digital from the chips produced in the factory. Kaori Hiraki, Toshiba's spokeswoman, declined to comment on details of the deal negotiations. Representatives for DBJ and KKR were not immediately available for comment. Western Digital would loan money for the initial purchase with rights to take a minority equity stake in the future, the people said.
In June, Reuters reported that this coalition was the preferred bidder for the business.
"Western Digital and Toshiba really need each other because they can't compete against Samsung without partners", he added.
Toshiba has been forced to sell its prized memory chip unit following heavy losses at its U.S. nuclear business unit Westinghouse that landed the company in a financial mess, involving billions of dollars in liabilities.
The memory business requires timely investments, accelerated product development, and the ability to quickly ramp-up large-scale production capacity; Highly reliable memory devices are essential to meet growing demand for storage.
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