Nikkei: Apple, Amazon, Foxconn Team up for Toshiba Memory Unit

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A Nikkei interview with Foxconn chairman Terry Gou reveals the key iPhone assembler has "financial support" from Apple and Amazon in a bid to buy the memory unit of Japanese conglomerate Toshiba.

Foxconn iPhoneThe report confirms an April 2017 story by Japanese broadcaster NHK stating Apple was planning to join Foxconn to invest in the Toshiba semiconductor business. Meanwhile the Nikkei story is confirmed Reuters, with a Foxconn statement reading "Foxconn can confirm that we have submitted a bid for Toshiba's chip business with a number of strategic partners."

According to the interview with Gou, the Foxconn offer for the Toshiba unit is worth over $18.2 billion. Gou does not state how much Apple and Amazon are putting on the table, but seeing how both companies are key Foxconn customers one can assume they will be pulling their financial weight in the matter.

Gou adds Foxconn stands a "good chance" of winning the deal, as well as it will "not undermine nor interfere" with Toshiba's current Japanese management. This is something of a sore point for the Japanese company, seeing how Foxconn has deep ties with the Chinese government.

Toshiba is currently looking to sell the memory business-- its only profitable unit-- before the end of the current fiscal year. The reason it wants to sell the unit is the bolstering of finances following the massive losses of US nuclear subsidiary Westinghouse. The Toshiba memory unit has the interests of four other bidders, namely American chipmaker Broadcom, US private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Toshiba technological partner Western Digital, and an alliance between South Korea's SK Hynix and US private equity firm Bain Capital.

However the sale is complicated by a legal battle with Western Digital. The American storage maker claims Toshiba violated a contract through the transfer of WD joint venture rights the memory unit that's now for sale. As a result, WD is asking for exclusive negotiating rights to win the bid and retain the contract for memory chip supply.

Go Apple, Amazon to Back Fosconn on Toshiba Chip Bid, Gou Says (Nikkei Asian Review)

Go Foxconn Says Apple, Amazon to Join its Bid for Toshiba Chip Business (Reuters)