Japanese conglomerate Toshiba is set to publicly announce that it will sell its prized memory chip unit to Western Digital after months of protracted negotiations, legal rows and rejected bids. Toshiba is desperately trying to offload its chip unit in order to generate funds to help pay off its debts for its bankrupt US nuclear unit Westinghouse.
However, sources from reputable media organizations in Japan have reported that Toshiba has agreed to sell its chip unit for 2 trillion yen ($18.3 billion) to a consortium which is being led by Western Digital who has expressed its interest in acquiring the unit from the offset.
In addition to this, it has also been reported that Toshiba will formally announce the decision to sell to Western Digital on September 20th after its next board meeting. Toshiba reportedly had three offers on the table for its chip unit, but has decided to vouch for a consortium led by Western Digital that includes KKR and Japanese government investors.
Despite the reports circulating in the Japanese media, a Toshiba spokesman declared that no decision had been made on the sale of Toshiba Memory, but declined to comment in relation to the details of the bidding process. Western Digital is a joint investor in the Japanese conglomerate’s key chip plant, and it was reluctant to sell its memory chip unit to the US data storage firm.
However, it is facing increasing pressure to sell in order to keep fiscal authorities off its back in relation to the massive debt it incurred with Westinghouse. Other offers reportedly on the table for Toshiba Memory was a bid led by Bain Capital and South Korea’s SK Hynix and Taiwanese giant Foxconn.
It was reported last week that Western Digital was willing to withdraw from the consortium’s financing effort in a bid to deter fears expressed by senior management within Toshiba in relation to its stake, but the US firm indicated that it still wants a future stake in the chip business. It remains unclear as to what the makeup of the deal will be, and what the assurances Toshiba have sought are. What is clear is that the two companies are entering the final stages of the negotiations which is determining how big a stake Western Digital will eventually have in the Japanese chip unit.