Toshiba seals deal to sell chip unit
TOSHIBA Corp. signed a deal Thursday to sell its chip unit to a Japaneseus-south Korean consortium for 2 trillion yen ($17.8 billion/k24.24 trillion), ending a prolonged bidding process and taking a major step toward restructuring.
The Japanese technology conglomerate announced last week it was selling Toshiba Memory Corp. to the consortium led by US investment fund Bain Capital, rejecting a counterbid from its longtime partner Western Digital Corp.
The consortium also includes the state-backed Innovation Network Corp. of Japan, the Development Bank of Japan, South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix Inc. and four US technology firms Apple Inc., Dell Inc., memory product maker Kingston Technology Corp. and data storage company Seagate Technology Plc.
With the sale of its chip business, Toshiba aims to cover massive losses incurred by its bankrupt US nuclear unit and boost its financial standings. Toshiba will be delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange if it does not eliminate its negative net worth by next March.
Toshiba is in a race against time, with potentially lengthy antitrust screenings ahead in major markets. The process usually takes six months or more.
“Toshiba intends to close (the deal) by the end of March 2018,” Toshiba said in a statement released Thursday.
The sale is expected to boost Toshiba’s financial standings by some 740 billion yen after taxation and help it claw its way out of excessive liabilities.
Last month Toshiba said that it fell into negative net worth of 552.9 billion yen at the end of fiscal 2016, and posted a record 965.66 billion yen group net loss for the year, the largestever for a Japanese manufacturer.
The sales decision by the Toshiba board came after it considered a revised last-minute offer by a group led by Western Digital, the joint owner of Toshiba’s Yokkaichi flash memory plant in central Japan.
Western Digital has taken Toshiba to court claiming selling the chip unit without its consent would breach their joint venture contract.
Toshiba Memory is the world›s second-largest chip maker following industry leader Samsung Electronics Co. of South Korea.
The combined global market share by revenue of Toshiba Memory and SK Hynix, which is ranked fifth, was nearly 30 percent in 2016, approaching Samsung’s roughly 35 percent, according to research firm IHS Markit.
Bain Capital is set to hold a press conference later in the day. – Kyodo