Toshiba selects preferred bidder for memory chip unit sale

Having put its memory-chip business on sale a few months ago, Japanese giant Toshiba said today that it has selected the consortium of Innovation Network Corporation of Japan, Bain Capital Private Equity and Development Bank of Japan as its preferred bidder.

According to DigiTimes, the aforementioned government-led consortium has presented the best proposal in terms of valuation, certainty of closing, retention of employees and maintenance of sensitive technology within Japan.

The definite agreement should be confirmed on June 28, when the consortium is scheduled to hold its shareholder meeting. The transaction, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approval, should close by March 2018.

Toshiba's memory semiconductor business was split from the parent company on April 1, 2017 as a wholly-owned subsidiary. Toshiba is among Apple's key suppliers of flash memory chips.

Toshiba warns Western Digital not to interfere in sale of its lucrative chip unit

Reuters reported Tuesday that Toshiba has now formally warned Western Digital not to interfere in the sale of its semiconductor unit. This follows recent reports that the US-based storage maker held talks with the iPhone maker regarding a potential acquisition of the Japanese giant's highly lucrative NAND flash chip business.

This is interesting because the two companies jointly operate Toshiba's main semiconductor plant. Western Digital accused Toshiba of violating their contract by transferring their joint venture's rights to the newly formed unit, which Toshiba denied.

The Japanese giant is now threatening legal action.

Western Digital's “campaign constitutes intentional interference with Toshiba's prospective economic advantage and current contracts,” reads Toshiba's letter.

“It is improper, and it must stop,” it added.

After Toshiba narrowed the list of bidders to Western Digital’s rivals, the US firm has formally complained to Toshiba because it felt the Japanese conglomerate should negotiate with it first.

Wester Digital even asked for exclusive negotiating rights.

Western Digital is not seen as a favored bidder for Toshiba's chip business because it put in a much lower offer than other suitors, sources with knowledge of the matter have said.

Toshiba is the world's second biggest NAND chip producer.

Among other suitors, technology giants such as Apple’s contract manufacturer Foxconn, flash memory chip maker SK Hynix and wireless chip maker Broadcom are said to be interested in investing into Toshiba's semiconductor business.

Western Digital held talks with Apple regarding acquiring Toshiba’s chip business

Toshiba has narrowed the list of bidders for its lucrative semiconductor business to a small group that includes Western Digital’s rivals such as Apple's favorite contract manufacturer Foxconn, memory chip maker SK Hynix and wireless chip maker Broadcom. Western Digital, however, feels that Toshiba should negotiate with it first.

In a new Bloomberg report Thursday, Western Digital has confirmed it's currently in talks with Japanese government-backed investment funds regarding a potential deal with the Japanese conglomerate. Mark Long, Western Digital's CEO, hinted that his company has held discussions with Apple as it tries to win a battle for Toshiba’s flash memory unit.

Three major Apple suppliers have submitted preliminary bids for Toshiba’s flash chip business

In the coming weeks, Toshiba will unveil a final decision concerning selling a majority stake in its lucrative memory business. Bloomberg reported this morning that iPhone manufacturer Foxconn's preliminary bid for Toshiba's semiconductor unit is valued at a whopping $26.93 billion. According to Bloomberg's sources, that amount is in part to force negotiations, using a bid that's too high to ignore.

Apple, Amazon and Google in the bidding war to acquire Toshiba’s flash chip unit

Although Toshiba saw strong overall results from its HDD/SSD business in 2016, it's spinning off the lucrative NAND flash unit into a separate company. It's a last-ditch effort to plug a gap after the firm reported a heavy one-off $6.3 billion loss in December 2016, prompting its chairman to resign.

Korean Herald cited yesterday's report in Yomiuri Shimbun Daily claiming that Apple, Amazon and Google are engaged in a bidding war to acquire the Japanese giant's NAND flash unit. A very diverse conglomerate, Toshiba is Apple’s top supplier of memory chips for iOS devices and files as the second-largest flash chip maker in the world after Samsung Electronics.

Foxconn and TSMC joining together to bid for Toshiba’s flash memory business

Aside from other firms, companies like storage maker Western Digital, iPhone manufacturer Foxconn and Apple mobile chip maker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) have all been named as potential bidders seeking a stake in Toshiba’s memory business.

According to a new report in the Chinese-language Liberty Times, quoted by DigiTimes, Foxconn and TSMC are joining forces in an attempt to acquire a majority stake in Toshiba's NAND flash business. A successful bid by the two Apple suppliers may pose a great challenge to Samsung Electronics' leadership in the flash memory market.

iPhone chip maker TSMC also eyeing Toshiba’s flash memory business

According to DigiTimes, Apple chip maker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is also interested in acquiring a stake in Japanese giant Toshiba's memory business. The semiconductor foundry has been looking to expand into the lucrative 3D NAND memory sector.

Apple's top supplier of memory chips, Toshiba is looking to spin off its flash unit into a separate company after reporting a massive $6.3 billion loss, with the split to become effective on April 1, 2017.

Firms like storage maker Western Digital and iPhone manufacturer Foxconn are among the potential bidders seeking a stake in Toshiba's memory business, too.

Foxconn serious about bidding for Toshiba’s memory chip business

Contract manufacturer Foxconn Technology Group, which assembles Apple's iPhones and other companies' products, is “very serious” about bidding for Toshiba’s memory chip business. Toshiba is currently Apple's top supplier of flash memory chips. Foxconn's founder and chairman Terry Gou said the firm cannot afford not having this technology.

Toshiba recently moved to sell some or all of its memory chip business after reporting a massive $6.3 billion loss. According to Bloomberg, Gou was present at an event in southern China to open a new $9 billion display plant.

iPhone 7 flash memory maker Toshiba could sell its NAND flash unit to Western Digital

DigiTimes estimated this week that flash memory chips for smartphones will remain in high demand throughout 2017 because supply shortages are reportedly “worse than expected” as chip makers are currently transitioning from older 2D NAND to newer 3D NAND technology.

According to a report Friday in The Korea Herald newspaper, citing Mirae Asset Daewoo Securities analysts, Toshiba may spin off of its lucrative NAND flash unit and sell the stake to Western Digital, narrowing the technology and market share gap with its bigger rival Samsung Electronics.

Latest technical drawings hint at 128GB iPhone 6

If purported iPhone 6 schematics that leaked out of China Thursday are anything to go by, there may be truth to the rumor that the next iPhone(s) will double storage capacity by introducing a new model with 128 gigabytes of NAND flash storage.

The rumor first appeared two months ago, suggesting that Apple would keep the 128GB option exclusive to the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 model along with other premium features (and possibly a premium pricing).

This time around, there's some hard (dubious?) evidence to back up the claim...