Toshiba has been attempting to off load its memory chip business for a long time. The long-running saga has taken a major step to completion after the company agreed a deal with a consortium. The Japanese company has officially agreed to sell to a consortium led by Bain Capital and including Apple as one of its investors.
In an announcement, Toshiba says the deal was agreed in principle at the start of the month. The company says it had already turned down bids from KKR and two Japanese investment funds.
Earlier in the summer, the conglomerate attempted to kick off a bidding war, which would also include Foxconn and Western Digital. However, at the time, Toshiba said its preferable bidder was the investment fund led by Bain Capital and including Network Corp of Japan (INCJ) and the Development Bank of Japan (DBJ).
Toshiba is the second biggest memory chip manufacturer on the market and the division is among the company’s crown jewels. However, a sale has been forced on the company as it seeks to balance books.
If the sale had not been negotiated, Toshiba would have been delisted from the Tokyo stock market. The company is restructuring and rebuilding after weathering an accounting scandal and the bankruptcy of a U.S.-based nuclear business.
Apple’s Play for the Memory Chip Market
However, the deal is not just important for 140-year old Toshiba, it has ramifications for the wider market. Apple’s involvement in the deal is significant.
Cupertino has been worried by Samsung’s growth in the memory chip market. The South Korean company enjoys a 40% share and Toshiba is the nearest rival. Apple has reportedly put $7 billion towards the chip business purchase, signalling it wants to compete directly with Samsung.
Apple is not known for dropping big money on investments easily. Indeed, when the company paid a couple of billion dollars to acquire Beats, it was surprising to many.
It is worth noting, Toshiba will continue to manage the chip business through one of its subsidiaries.