Toshiba has been shopping its chip business around to potential buyers for a few months now. With names like Western Digital and others popping up in the rumor mill. Now, according to a report out of Reuters, the company will be announcing the buyer on June 15th – next week. Currently, there are three bidders in line to purchase the company from Toshiba. there's Broadcom Ltd, Silver Lake (a US tech fund) and then Western Digital who is already a partner with Toshiba's chip business. The company is going to be holding a board meeting on June 15th, where the board members will vote on the preferred bidder.
Toshiba has been looking for a buyer for its chip business because of their nuclear business being bankrupt, Westinghouse Electric Corp. So it is looking for this cash to help cover those costs. Toshiba values its chip business at about $18 billion, and it's also the second-largest producer of NAND chips in the world. In fact, most of the storage found in smartphones today, was produced by Toshiba.
Now things get a bit strange when talking about Western Digital. It jointly operates a chip plant in western Japan with Toshiba, and the company is now alleging that Toshiba is in serious breach of its contract over the joint venture. Making the sale of its chip business a bit more challenging. Western Digital is arguing that the unit cannot be sold without its consent, and the company has also demanded exclusive negotiating rights for the chip business. However, Toshiba is striking back, and asking Western Digital to stop challenging Toshiba's plans for its chip business.
Western Digital would be a good fit for Toshiba's chip business, since the company already sells a large amount of storage and memory products – and recently bought SanDisk as well. Broadcom is another one that would be a good fit, since they also already manufacturer chips. It's going to be a tough decision for Toshiba, selling off the world's second-largest NAND chip company is no small task. Toshiba's board has a tough task ahead of them next week, it'll be interesting to see who wins the company.