The buyers Toshiba chose last week include a Japanese government-controlled investment fund, the Innovation Network Corporation; the Development Bank of Japan, a state-owned bank; and the American buyout firm Bain Capital. The South Korean technology company SK Hynix is to provide loans to finance the deal.
Toshiba had intended to sign a final agreement with the group before its annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday.
The company needs a deal to fill a vast hole in its balance sheet. The losses at its American nuclear power division, Westinghouse Electric, have cast “substantial uncertainty” over the century-old company’s ability to stay in business, Toshiba has said in financial statements.
That has threatened the survival of a sprawling technology giant that has long been a pillar of Japanese industry.
One factor complicating the chip sale has been Western Digital. The company is an owner, with Toshiba, of a NAND production operation in Japan that is part of Toshiba’s larger microchip subsidiary under negotiation. Western Digital argues that Toshiba cannot sell to an outside party without its approval.
On Wednesday, Western Digital said it had made a renewed offer with its partner in the bid, the American investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts. It did not disclose terms, except to say that it was willing to provide Toshiba with debt financing.
“Western Digital continues to believe it is the best partner to advance Toshiba’s legacy of technology innovation in Japan,” Western Digital said in a statement.
Two people familiar with the sale process who were not authorized to speak to the news media have said Western Digital is offering less money than the consortium Toshiba favors. That has left Toshiba with a dilemma: accept a lower offer, or take the higher one and risk what could be a long and costly legal fight with Western Digital.
Western Digital has asked a California state court to block any sale while also pursuing arbitration in the Paris-based International Court of Arbitration. A hearing is scheduled for July 14.
Toshiba said last week that the Japan-United States-South Korea group presented “the best proposal” in terms of price, promises to retain staff and the ability to keep sensitive technology within Japan. It has rejected Western Digital’s claim that it has de facto veto power over a sale.
A host of others had bid for the Toshiba memory business, including the iPhone supplier Foxconn and the American chip maker Broadcom.
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