Bain adds Apple for last-minute $18 billion Toshiba chip unit bid

Bain had previously submitted a $19 billion offer with another group that included state-backed Innovation Network Corp. of Japan and Development Bank of Japan. Western Digital would loan money for the initial purchase with rights to take a minority equity stake in the future, the people said.

Toshiba is selling the profitable memory chip business because it needs to raise enough capital by March to avoid being delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange following a string of financial disasters, including accounting problems and cover billions of dollars of liabilities in its U.S. nuclear arm Westinghouse.

The proposal also calls for Toshiba to be part of the deal, investing 200 billion yen, the source said.

The board of the embattled Japanese conglomerate met earlier in the day to review a $17 billion offer by a consortium led by Western Digital, as well as bids from groups led by Bain Capital and by Taiwan's Foxconn. Western Digital claims that it has final say on any deal since it has agreed to build a flash memory chip plant with Toshiba in Yokkaichi, Japan.


Toshiba has been attempting to try and sell its chip business, due to billions lost in its USA nuclear business Westinghouse, which has gone bankrupt.

Toshiba Memory has the second-largest share of the global flash memory market after South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co.

Alternatively, a combined Toshiba and Western Digital business could be nearly as large as Samsung's memory unit, giving it more negotiating leverage against Apple. Apple is said to be interested in the business because it would give it greater control over its supply chain.

A Bain-led group had previously been chosen by Toshiba as its preferred bidder.


But the two sides are struggling to come to an agreement over the USA company's future stake in the business, several sources have said.

Bain's revised bid was first reported by Japanese broadcaster NHK which said it would be structured so that Bain and Toshiba would each hold 46 percent of the unit.

It's not clear exactly how Apple would support Bain's bid. A Western Digital representative declined to comment.

Toshiba was working under creditor pressure to strike a deal by the end of the month, sources with direct knowledge have said, as any later would make it hard to gain regulatory approvals before its books closed in March.


Sources expect Toshiba to still sign a deal with the Western Digital group amidst legal challenges and the prospect of losing market to rivals, including Korean technology giant Samsung.


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