Troubled Japanese conglomerate Toshiba on Wednesday announced it has selected a consortium led by the public-private Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ) as a preferred bidder for its prized memory chip business.
The consortium consists of the INCJ, Bain Capital Private Equity and the Development Bank of Japan.
In a statement, Toshiba said it determined that the consortium “presented the best proposal, not only in terms of valuation, but also in respect to certainty of closing, retention of employees, and maintenance of sensitive technology within Japan.”
Toshiba added that it intends to reach a “mutually satisfactory” agreement with the consortium by June 28, the date of its annual ordinary general shareholders meeting. Toshiba also said it aims to close the deal by March 2018.
South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix and Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group are in talks to provide financing for the deal.
Earlier this year, Toshiba shareholders gave the go-ahead for the sale of the memory business; Toshiba is the world’s second largest producer of NAND flash memory — behind Samsung.
There have been several suitors for the memory business, including Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn, SK Hynix and Broadcom. Last week, Western Digital said it sought an injunction to stop Toshiba from selling the business. Western Digital jointly operates a semiconductor plant with Toshiba in Japan.
Western Digital responded to the news, saying Toshiba continued to ignore both its subsidiary SanDisk’s rights and the dual-track legal process currently underway, according to Reuters. The company asserted that Toshiba had no right to transfer its joint-venture interests to a third party without SanDisk’s consent.
CNBC has reached out to Western Digital for comment.
Analysts have previously said the sale of the memory business could be key to turn around the broader business, which booked a net loss of $4.86 billion in the nine months to December for the fiscal year that ended March 31, 2017.
After twice delaying the release of earnings, Toshiba finally announced the numbers in April, but it did so without auditor endorsement.
Toshiba shares last traded down 1.45 percent at 325.4 yen.
Source: cnbc china
Toshiba taps consortium as preferred bidder for memory business sale