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Apple and Dell bid to acquire Toshiba's memory chip business

14 Septembre 2017

Toshiba - which is desperate to sell of its lucrative NAND flash memory business to offset losses by its USA nuclear power business - said it has been in continued discussions with all three groups for weeks, but made a decision to further negotiations with the Bain group on the basis of that group's latest proposal.

It still remains unclear, however, whether Toshiba can avoid risks from Western Digital's lawsuit to prevent the sale should it choose the Bain group. But Western Digital protested within hours of the announcement. Apple depends on flash memory from Toshiba in its iPhones and iPods, and wants a continued supply so it's not dependent on rival Samsung Electronics Co.

Toshiba said in a statement it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Bain to accelerate discussions, and hoped to reach agreement in late September.

In response to the MOU, Western put out its own statement expressing its surprise said it was "surprising" that Toshiba would look to do a deal with Bain "without SanDisk's consent, as the language in the relevant JV agreements is unambiguous, and multiple courts have ruled in favor of protecting SanDisk's contractual rights". Such sales can be sensitive because they involve the transfer of technology. Under the earlier proposal by the Bain-led group, SK Hynix was to provide financing and eventually gain a minority stake in the chip unit.

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Apple has opposed Western Digital's bid and chose to back Bain because of the business's strategic importance, the people said.

Negotiations launched in mid-August to sell the memory business to a group led by Western Digital have hit a snag, prompting the struggling company to announce on Wednesday that it will now focus on negotiations with a tri-nation consortium headed by US investment fund Bain Capital, which was the preferred bidder in late June.

"Throughout our ongoing dialogue with Toshiba, we have been flexible, constructive and have submitted numerous proposals to specifically address Toshiba's stated concerns".

In 2015, Toshiba acknowledged it had been systematically falsifying its books since 2008, as managers tried to meet overly ambitious targets.

Apple and Dell bid to acquire Toshiba's memory chip business