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Toshiba chip biz sale held up due to payments dispute and WD interference

THE SALE OF Toshiba’s chip biz has reportedly been held up due to a dispute over the payments schedule, along with the continued uncertainty caused by the firm’s ongoing dispute with Western Digital.

Toshiba’s preferred bidder for the unit, a consortium led by private equity outfit Bain Capital, is unsettled by the ongoing dispute between Toshiba and Western Digital, according to Bloomberg. It therefore wants to stage payments, with the lion’s share being paid after Toshiba has settled the dispute. 

Toshiba, on the other hand, wants the payments to be made much earlier in order to avoid being delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange, which could happen by March 2018 unless it can get its finances in order.

The dispute over payments is the reason why Toshiba has re-opened talks with other bidders, including Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn.

During a press conference last week, Toshiba President Satoshi Tsunakawa left the door open to cooperation with Western Digital, potentially including the sale of the business to the company if the two can reach an agreement. According to Bloomberg, Toshiba needs to reach final deal terms in the next few weeks in order to close the sale in time.

Given the tight timescales and the possibility that they might be missed, Toshiba is also making preparations for delisting.

Bain’s consortium includes Development Bank of Japan and the Innovation Network Corp of Japan, a government-backed group, while South Korean semiconductor firm SK Hynix is also providing funding.

Toshiba’s dispute with its semiconductor partner Western Digital, meanwhile, could cause the sale to be delayed. WD claims that under the terms of their joint venture agreement, it has the right to approve, or reject, Toshiba’s choice of buyer.

WD has filed for arbitration over the sale in California. Toshiba, meanwhile, has rejected this claim and counter-sued. µ

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