US/Japan: Western Digital may drop Toshiba chip bid?

San Jose-based hard drive manufacturer Western Digital is thinking about dropping out of its bid for Toshiba’s multibillion-dollar flash memory chip business after talks stalled, Reuters reports, citing several people close to the negotiations.

In return, Western Digital will reportedly attempt to secure a larger position in its existing joint venture agreement with Toshiba.

For months, Western Digital and Toshiba have sparred in the press over the deal, which could ultimately be worth as much as US$18 billion for Toshiba. Western Digital has reportedly made at least six separate bids for Toshiba’s flash memory manufacturing unit, and threatened to block the sale in court.

On Thursday, August 31, Toshiba blew its self-imposed deadline to sell the flash memory unit, after it had seemed to be close to making a decision between competing bids led by Western Digital and private equity firm Bain Capital, which reportedly has support from Apple.

Western Digital and Toshiba have a joint venture agreement over the chip unit.

The most recent round of talks have stalled over Western Digital’s ownership stake it wants in the business, which Toshiba worries could tie up regulatory approval, Reuters reports.

Toshiba is desperate to sell its chip unit to help cover billions of dollars of unexpected losses from its nuclear power business. It needs to complete a deal by March or it risks being delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Full Content: Reuters

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