In another twist in the complicated and tantalizing process to sell the world’s second largest flash memory business, Japan’s Toshiba Corp. is said to be tilting towards a consortium led by U.S. equity firm Bain Capital and Korean chipmaker SK Hynix that lately upped price and investment appeals.
Toshiba which recently turned to a consortium led by Western Digital Corp., its NAND flash joint-venture partner that took lawsuits to prevent the Toshiba’s memory unit from falling into a third party, had planned to seal a deal with Western Digital this week. But on Wednesday, its board approved signing of a memorandum of understanding with Bain and SK Hynix that will be inviting Japanese lenders and investors to avoid antitrust and other issues.
Japanese media also reported that Toshiba will continue talks with Western Digital, including a possible out-of-court settlement with the U.S. chipmaker.
Shares of SK Hynix closed Wednesday at 75,700 won ($67.08), up 1.34 percent from the previous session.
It is yet to be seen if the choice is final as Toshiba, which is under multiple pressure from creditors and authorities, has been reversing decisions many times.
The company which must sell its lucrative chip business to avoid being delisted because of negative shareholder equity status chose the Bain-led group as the preferred bidder in June, and then changed its mind to the Western Digital-led consortium.
The Bain camp is said to have pushed up the bid price from 2 trillion yen to 2.4 trillion yen ($22 billion) that includes facility investment.
By Hwang Hyung-gyu and Jung Wook
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]