HONG KONG — Toshiba has picked a consortium that includes a government-controlled investment fund as its preferred bidder for the company’s multibillion-dollar microchip business.
Toshiba, the Japanese conglomerate awash in losses from its nuclear unit in the United States, said Wednesday in a news release that a consortium made up of the Innovation Network Corporation of Japan; Bain Capital, the American private equity firm; and the Development Bank of Japan “presented the best proposal.” The size of the bid was not disclosed, but the microchip business is estimated to be worth about $20 billion.
Toshiba said in the news release that considerations included “certainty of closing, retention of employees and maintenance of sensitive technology within Japan.”
Western Digital, an American data storage company that owns part of a Toshiba semiconductor factory in Japan, has also bid on the chip business.
The company said that Toshiba could not sell without its consent, and last month it took the dispute to the International Court of Arbitration, a tribunal operated by the Paris-based International Chamber of Commerce that adjudicates corporate disputes. Last week, Western Digital sought an injunction preventing Toshiba from selling the business; a hearing is scheduled for July 14.
On Wednesday, Western Digital said Toshiba had “no right” to make a sale without its approval.
“We remain confident in our consent rights and our legal position and look forward to the hearing for injunctive relief,” the company said in a news release.
Toshiba has not said exactly how much of the semiconductor business it will sell, and it has not identified all of the other bidders. Foxconn of Taiwan, which assembles electronics for Apple iPhones; Broadcom, the American chip maker; and SK Hynix of South Korea, another chip maker, are known to be among them.