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

The US tech companies are part of a consortium led by Bain Capital hoping to purchase the Japanese heavyweight’s memory chip business

  • By Luján Scarpinelli | Thursday, September 14th, 2017

Toshiba has been troubled by losses at its US nuclear unit and is in need of the funds that would be raised by the sale

In a consortium led by private equity firm Bain Capital, Apple and Dell made a joint bid to acquire Toshiba’s memory chip business, Toshiba Memory Corporation, for about $19bn, according to The Wall Street Journal.

On September 13, the Japanese group announced it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Bain, aiming to close a deal no later than the end of this month. However, Toshiba made clear the agreement “does not eliminate the possibility of negotiations with other consortia”.

The Japanese manufacturer has been troubled by big losses at Westinghouse Electric, its US nuclear unit, which filed for bankruptcy in March.

At present, Toshiba is under pressure to close a deal in order to improve its finances. If it is unable to do so, its shares could be delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange in March 2018, the Financial Times reported.

The Japanese manufacturer has been troubled by big losses at Westinghouse Electric, its US nuclear unit, which filed for bankruptcy in March

As a strategic supplier in the tech industry, the memory chip maker has other potential buyers. Among them is Western Digital, the US computer data storage company and Toshiba’s partner in chip manufacturing, which expressed its discontent with the news. “We are disappointed that Toshiba would take this action despite Western Digital’s tireless efforts to reach a resolution that is in the best interests of all stakeholders,” the company said in a statement.

Last week, it became public knowledge that Toshiba was considering a proposal from Western Digital that included legal action. But later on it showed preference for the Bain-backed group, which is said to be discussing a $3bn stake in Toshiba’s memory chip unit.

Furthermore, there is a third offer in what Bloomberg called a “bidding war”. The last bidder includes Foxconn (also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry), the Taiwanese electronics contract manufacturer.

Toshiba’s urgency to sell is likely to accelerate the decision.