Apple may buy stake in Toshiba's semiconductor business

Posted April 15, 2017

Apple was not immediately available for comment.

Apple executives are also considering joining hands with chip manufacturer Foxconn, formally known as Hon Hai Precision, for taking a big stake in Toshiba's semiconductor business. With its stock price continuing its decline, Toshiba likely hopes that it can make the sale as soon as possible. The bulk of Apple's iPhones are manufactured at Foxconn's extensive manufacturing base there.

NHK's source says that Apple's plan would be for Toshiba to retain a partial stake, so that control of the company would be jointly held by Japan and the U.S., with Foxconn having only a minority holding. Elpida is now owned by US -based Micron Technology Inc.

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In the meantime, Western Digital has already requested Toshiba that they be given exclusive negotiating rights.

Toshiba is the world's second biggest flash memory chipmaker but has put its chips business up for sale to make up for a write down of $6.5bn in its USA nuclear equipment operations.

On Tuesday Toshiba warned it may not continue as a 'going concern.

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The Nikkei Asian Review has reported that Toshiba may sell a 20% stake in the memory business for between $1.77 billion and $2.65 billion, "while retaining a majority stake and keeping the new company in group earnings". Foxconn by itself reportedly made an opening round bid of $18 billion for the business, which is the second largest flash memory operation on the planet topped only by Samsung. It is unclear whether it participated in the first round of the auction that sources have said drew around 10 offers.

"It is not true Toshiba has put the chip sale process on hold", a Toshiba spokesman told Reuters.

Some small lenders have baulked at the offer as they have been offered other Toshiba assets as collateral, such as its group companies' shares and real estate.

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