Fri, Sep 15, 2017 - Page 10 News List

Apple is said to discuss a stake in Bain chip bid


Apple Inc is playing the role of kingmaker in the contentious battle for Toshiba Corp’s memorychip business.

The iPhone maker is in talks to provide about US$3 billion in capital for Bain Capital’s bid for the unit, adding to financial support from Dell Inc, Seagate Technology PLC and SK Hynix Inc, people familiar with the matter said.

That support convinced Toshiba to sign a memorandum of understanding with Bain and work toward a final agreement this month, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is not public.

Apple plans to take an equity stake alongside Bain, they said.

If the agreement is completed, it might exceed Apple’s largest deal ever, the US$3 billion acquisition of Beats Electronics LLC.

The Cupertino, California-based company is helping swing the deal away from Western Digital Corp, one of Apple’s own suppliers that tried to buy the chips unit with KKR & Co.

Apple’s money would help fill a gap left when state-backed Innovation Network Corp of Japan and Development Bank of Japan decided to pull back from the Bain bid in the face of litigation from Western Digital.

Apple spokesman Josh Rosenstock declined to comment.

Toshiba has been in negotiations for months to sell off its chips business and pay for a disastrous move into the US nuclear business. The company needs to raise the money by March next year to avoid seeing its shares delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Apple has opposed Western Digital’s bid and decided to back Bain because of its strategic importance, the people said.

Apple depends on flash memory from Toshiba in its iPhones and iPods, and wants a continued supply so it is not dependent on rival Samsung Electronics Co.

The precise composition of the Bain group is still in flux and might change, the people said. There is no guarantee they will be able to reach a final agreement with Toshiba.

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