At last minute, Western Digital resubmits bid for Toshiba chip unit
Company and US private equity firm KKR make an 11th hour effort to prevent Japanese giant signing a deal with its preferred bidder
Western Digital Corp said it and US private equity firm KKR & Co LP have resubmitted a bid for Toshiba Corp’s prized flash memory chip unit – an eleventh hour effort to prevent Toshiba signing a deal with its preferred bidder.
Western Digital, which jointly runs Toshiba’s main semiconductor plant, has been feuding bitterly with its Japanese partner over the sale of the world’s No 2 producer of NAND chips and has sought a US court injunction to prevent any deal that does not have its consent.
Toshiba is seeking to sign a definitive agreement with a group led by the Japanese government and including Bain Capital which has offered around 2 trillion yen (US$18 billion) – by Wednesday, the day of its annual shareholders meeting.
Western Digital will provide debt financing to facilitate a sale as part of the bid, the US firm said in a brief statement.
It was not immediately clear if the resubmitted bid had significantly changed from its previous offer tabled earlier this month.
A representative for the California-based firm declined to comment further, while a representative for KKR was not immediately available for comment. Toshiba did not have immediate comment.
The crisis-wracked Japanese conglomerate is rushing to sell the unit to cover billions of dollars in cost overruns at its bankrupt Westinghouse nuclear unit and to dig itself out of negative shareholders’ equity that could lead to a delisting.
Toshiba’s board members are expected to gather and discuss whether to sign off on the Japanese government-led consortium’s bid on Tuesday.
Western Digital’s previous bid also included state-backed fund, the Innovation Network Corp of Japan (INCJ), and satisfied the 2 trillion yen minimum set by Toshiba.
INCJ is currently part of the consortium that was chosen as the preferred bidder.