Apple and Dell have joined a Foxconn-led consortium bidding for Toshiba Corp's flash memory business, according to a report from Reuters on Monday. The Taiwanese company is also in discussions with Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Cisco Systems about participating in the bid.
Toshiba is currently the world’s second-largest chip manufacturer. Its products are used in a wide variety of consumer goods, including smartphone, laptops and other mobile devices. However, the Japanese company has been forced to sell off its prized unit after its US nuclear subsidiary, Westinghouse, filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this year.
The group will face stiff competition from a number of interested parties. Reuters is also reporting that Western Digital will raise its offer for the semiconductor unit to $18 billion or more by Thursday, when Toshiba is due to announce its preferred bidder. The U.S. chipmaker is part of a consortium led by a Japanese government-backed fund.
At this stage, Toshiba is said to favour a third group led by US chipmaker Broadcom Ltd, which has partnered with U.S. private equity firm Silver Lake to offer 2.2 trillion yen.
Terry Gou, Foxconn's founder and chief executive, declined to comment on the total size of the offer today. But did reveal Foxconn, together with its Japanese subsidiary Sharp, will own about a 40% stake in Toshiba's memory chip unit if the deal goes through. Toshiba has previously said it values the unit at $18 billion or more.
"I can tell you Apple is in for sure," Gou said in an interview. He said the tech giant’s participation had been approved by Chief Executive Tim Cook and Apple's board of directors. But wouldn’t reveal how much Apple planned to invest.
The news helped Toshiba's shares climb 9 percent on Monday. However, the stock is still down 26 percent from levels in late December.
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