Western Digital likely to get Toshiba memory business

Toshiba Corp is seen on a printed circuit board in this

Toshiba Corp is seen on a printed circuit board in this

Most recent news has been suggesting that the deal will be announced somewhere around Thursday this week.

A consortium led by Western Digital Corp (WDC.O) is close to an agreement to buy Toshiba Corp's (6502.T) $17.4 billion chip business, with the USA firm's CEO in Tokyo to finalize the long and contentious talks, a person familiar with the matter said.

SK Hynix is reportedly considering taking legal action against Toshiba after being rebuffed by the Japanese conglomerate during the auction process of a memory-chip unit without appropriate notice, according to sources close to the matter.

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Toshiba has been trying to flog off its flash memory unit to cover losses from its bankrupt USA nuclear business Westinghouse but any deal it managed to set up were scuppered by Western Digital, which is Tosh's partner in the business.

"As the market has already experienced Western Digital teaming up with Toshiba by acquiring SanDisk, the new deal won't bring much difference in the landscape of the global memory market".

Western Digital shares are down 1.18%.

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Toshiba remains in negotiations with a consortium including Western Digital (NYSE:WDC) but the two companies haven't agreed on certain specifics like limiting Western Digital's stakes in the unit. Toshiba is seeking to retain some shares in the unit.

Before that, Toshiba had picked a consortium of Japanese government-backed funds, US private equity firm Bain Capital LP and South Korean chip maker SK Hynix Inc (000660.KS) as its preferred bidder. Sources have said the group was offering around 1.9 trillion yen ($17.5 billion) for the business. But the company told Toshiba earlier this month that it could ditch the arbitration request if a deal is reached.

While the two companies plan to take the chip unit public in roughly three years, Western Digital's stake will still be limited to no more than one-third of all shares even if the US firm goes ahead with its plan to buy additional shares, they said, meaning it will not have a veto on important management issues. The moves are believed to be measures meant to avoid a possible monopoly controversy.

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Toshiba needs the deal to finalize and pass antitrust regulators before March or risk delisting on the Tokyo exchange due to losses related to its bankrupt energy company Westinghouse Electric.

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