Toshiba, Westinghouse end all ligitation, start new flash memory cooperation

Western Digital had injected itself into Toshiba’s attempts to find a buyer tried to join a rival bidding consortium and according to the Toshiba side made the whole process more difficult

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As the dispute had become a major stumbling block to the sale, Toshiba filed suit with the Tokyo District Court in June, seeking compensation for losses resulting from Western Digital's litigation. Soon after, the lawsuits began to fly, with Toshiba alleging Western Digital had "continually interfered with the bid process" and "exaggerated" the amount of power the firm had in relation to any potential sale.

"With the concerns about litigation and arbitration removed, we look forward to renewing our collaboration with Western Digital, and accelerating TMC's growth to meet growing global demand for flash memory", said Yasuo Naruke, a Toshiba senior executive vice president and president and CEO of Toshiba Memory.

A peace has broken out between Western Digital and Toshiba over the future of their solid-state-memory factory joint-ventures. In return, the Japanese company will end its legal claims against Western Digital, the two companies said in a statement.

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While Toshiba hopes to complete the sale of its memory unit by the end of March 2018, the accord with Western Digital will leave antitrust screening in China as the only hurdle to a sale.

Western Digital is clearly a loser here because it was strongly opposed to that sale, as the consortium also includes two of its biggest rivals, USA firm Seagate Technology Plc. and South Korean company SK Hynix Inc., which will now obtain some of WD's production assets via the joint venture agreements. Last month, the Tokyo-based company said it would accelerate investments in its new Fab 6 chip facility in Yokkaichi, blocking Western Digital from participating and raising the prospect the USA company wouldn't get supplies of newer chips that it will need to remain competitive.

Tosh and WDC are agreed on the sale of Toshiba's subsidiary TMC to the Bain-led consortium. TMC and Western Digital have also committed to signing new deals in the future, under which Western Digital will participate in the new flash wafer fabrication facility which will be constructed in Iwate, Japan. The consortium also includes South Korea's SK Hynix.

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Toshiba decided in February to sell its prized flash memory business after the company's shareholder equity fell deep into the red. Toshiba needed to raise capital to avoid seeing its shares delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

The plan calls for Toshiba Memory eventually sell shares through an initial public offering. With the capital increase, Toshiba believes it can dig itself out of negative net worth, even if the sale of Toshiba Memory falls through.

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