Daily Management Review

Western Digital Is Being Attempted To Be Warded Off Control Of Toshiba Chips By Apple:Reports


Apple has threatened Western Digital that it will not buy its products in the future with the aim of stopping Western Digital from taking control of Toshiba chip business, reported the media quoting people with knowledge of the deal.
The sources reportedly said on Friday that concerned about losing pricing power if Western Digital is running the operation is what is troubling Apple which uses Toshiba's NAND flash memory chips in its iPhones.
Media reports also quoted sources saying that Apple, a top customer for Toshiba chips, is offering around 50 billion yen ($460 million) to a group including the U.S. firm to help finance a bid, if Western Digital remains a minority investor in the business.
While a Western Digital spokeswoman said it could not comment on details of the talks, Apple declined to comment to the media reports. Toshiba did not immediately respond to requests for comment from the media.
A $17-18 billion bid for the chip business is being led by Western Digital, which jointly invests in Toshiba's key chip plant, said the media quoting sources familiar with the talks.
In return for a stronger position in their joint venture, and was roping in Apple for funding, Western Digital offered to step back from the consortium's financing, sources said earlier in the week.
However, in order to cover for the 15 billion yen that Western Digital had previously planned to pay as part of the bid, it has been unclear whether other parties in the consortium, which also includes U.S. private equity firm KKR as well as Japanese government-backed investors.
While Western Digital was unclear how much, it does want a future stake in the chip business, sources have said.
Demands that the U.S. company promise to limit the size of its stake in the company, were raised by Toshiba executives, fearing that Western Digital was angling to eventually take over the chip business, reported the media quoting sources who requested anonymity as talks were confidential.
Sources have reportedly further said that a final agreement with the consortium by Wednesday is now being aimed to be reached by Toshiba's board.
In order to ensure it does not report negative net worth, or liabilities exceeding assets, for a second year running - a scenario that could result in delisting from the Tokyo Stock Exchange, the company is under pressure to clinch a deal soon and complete regulatory approvals by the end of the fiscal year in March.
Last week, Toshiba said it was also looking at a bid from U.S. private equity firm Bain as well as one from Taiwan's Foxconn and had not yet narrowed the pool of suitors.
All three bids have involved Apple, Toshiba's key memory chip customer, sources said.

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