Toshiba's memory-chip unit attracts more potential bidders

Toshiba Corp.'s memory-chips business is attracting more potential bidders ahead of an end-of-March deadline, including Japanese government-backed entities, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The Development Bank of Japan is considering a joint offer with U.S. financial bidders, people familiar with the matter said, asking not to be identified discussing a private matter.

The electronics conglomerate is seeking a sale of the prized unit to make up for a multibillion-dollar write-down in its nuclear operations. The semiconductor business is Toshiba's crown jewel and makes the memory chips that go into personal computers, smartphones and data centers.

The shares of Toshiba rose 3.5 percent in Tokyo on Friday. The stock is down 33 percent this year after unveiling the potential losses in late December.

Late on Thursday, a Toshiba executive said he would welcome a bid from Innovation Network Corp. of Japan. That company and Development Bank of Japan are considering a joint bid to take more than a 30 percent stake, the Yomiuri newspaper reported, but Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga immediately poured cold water on the speculations, telling reporters in Tokyo that Japan is not considering the use of public funds for Toshiba.

Kaori Hiraki, a spokesman for Toshiba, declined to comment on the progress of chip unit sale and possible bidders. Representatives for Development Bank of Japan and Innovation Network Corp. declined to comment.

The bids could range from $6.2 billion-$15.9 billion, one of the people said.

-- Bloomberg News

SundayMonday Business on 03/20/2017

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