Published: Fri, September 15, 2017
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Apple Discussing $3 Billion Stake in Bain's Toshiba Bid

Apple Discussing $3 Billion Stake in Bain's Toshiba Bid

Apple plans to take an equity stake alongside Bain, they said. The Cupertino-headquartered company acquired the Beats Electronics headphone business for $3 billion. Apple's money will help fill a gap left when state-backed Innovation Network Corp. of Japan and Development Bank of Japan chose to pull back from the Bain bid in the face of litigation from Western Digital.

Toshiba said its business partner Western Digital had been "persistently" overstating its rights over a memory chip unit that the Japanese firm is looking to offload, showing the two remain at loggerheads over the $18 billion sale.

Toshiba has been forced to sell its most profitable, and highly prized, business after its United States nuclear development subsidiary Westinghouse had to be put-in to Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection following a decade of mismanagement under Toshiba. Apple spokesman Josh Rosenstock declined to comment. Among them is Western Digital, the U.S. computer data storage company and Toshiba's partner in chip manufacturing, which expressed its discontent with the news.

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Apple uses Toshiba's flash memory in its iPhones and iPods.

If the deal goes through then it may become Apple's largest deal to date. The deal could be worth $19 billion, but talk of numbers is still premature: An actual transaction is hardly closer than it was three months ago, when Toshiba. At the time, the Bain consortium offered about 2.1 trillion yen ($19.1 billion) and included INCJ and DBJ.

Apple has opposed Western Digital's bid and chose to back Bain because of the business's strategic importance, the people said. Yasuo Naruke, head of the chips business, and several other top executives resisted the Western Digital proposal, the people said.

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But later on it showed preference for the Bain-backed group, which is said to be discussing a $3bn stake in Toshiba's memory chip unit.

Just prior to a July court hearing, Toshiba and Western Digital worked out an agreement that was approved by a San Francisco Superior Court judge. Still, METI officials have opposed selling the business to Foxconn because of its ties to China, home to numerous company's factories.

The announcement came after sources told Reuters on Tuesday that Toshiba was now favouring the Bain group after failing to bridge disagreements with rival suitor Western Digital Corp.

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