Japan-US-Korea Team Named Toshiba Unit Preferential Bidder (News)


Tokyo, June 21 (Jiji Press)—Toshiba Corp. decided at a board meeting on Wednesday to grant a Japan-US-Korea consortium the preferential right to negotiate for its flash memory unit, Toshiba Memory Corp.

The struggling Japanese electronics and machinery maker said it aims to conclude a contract with the consortium before a general meeting of Toshiba's shareholders on June 28 and complete the unit's sale by the end of March 2018.

Toshiba’s move to split off its lucrative memory business comes as the firm fights to stay afloat following posting massive losses in the wake of the bankruptcy of its US nuclear power generator Westinghouse.

The Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry led the way in organizing the consortium as a way to prevent the possible outflow of jobs and technologies.

The team consists of the Japanese government-backed investment fund Innovation Network Corp., the state-held Development Bank of Japan, and Japanese private-sector companies along with US investment firm Bain Capital and South Korean semiconductor maker SK Hynix Inc. The consortium has offered to buy the unit for roughly ¥2 trillion, with the Japanese side providing the majority of funding.

Toshiba welcomed the offer, saying the proposal has the highest certainty of being realized and is the best option with regard to retaining jobs and sensitive technology in Japan.

Economy Minister Sekō Hiroshige praised Toshiba’s decision while asserting that government-backed investment would not represent unfair competition with private-sector businesses. He added that the partnership can be expected to produce a vigorous exchange of ideas and technology.

The sale of Toshiba’s subsidiary is far from final, however, and has to first clear a challenge by the firm’s semiconductor business partner US hard disk drive maker Western Digital Corp., which has filed a lawsuit in the United States to block the deal.

Toshiba’s decision to side with the Japanese-led consortium comes after it ignored earlier calls from its creditor bank to agree to a higher bid by US chipmaker Broadcom Ltd.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd. Content added by the Nippon.com editorial team.]

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