Toshiba Corp, the Japanese tech giant, agreed last year to sell its semiconductor business and expects to complete the sale by June at the latest. The $18 billion memory chip business will be sold to a consortium led by US private equity firm Bain Capital to deal with the financial crisis caused by the bankruptcy of its US nuclear unit. “We’ve been making various efforts to close the deal in March”, said Yasuo Naruke, the head of Toshiba’s chip unit, during his visit to a new chip R&D centre in central Japan.
The deal is yet to get a regulatory approval from China, which Toshiba says is taking a longer time than usual. However, the imperative to get the deal through by the end of the financial year has been reduced following a series of cash injections. But according to some sources, Toshiba has the option of walking away if the deal doesn’t finalize by March. The deal is also backed by South Korean chipmaker, SK Hynix, Apple, Seagate Technology and Kingston Technology. Their involvement in the deal will help in maintaining the access to flash memory chips and DRAM during their short supply.
There are only a few companies involved in memory chip production in a market dominated by Samsung with more than 40 per cent share. After Samsung, Toshiba is the second biggest player with Western Digital third followed by US manufacturer Micron Technology, SK Hynix and Intel.