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- Feb 5, 2017
Toshiba has selected a consortium as their preferred bidder in the sale of Toshiba's memory business. The consortium is led by the Innovation Network Corporation of Japan, an investment partnership between the Japanese government and 26 Japanese corporations. Other major partners in the winning consortium include Bain Capital and competing memory manufacturer SK Hynix. Toshiba hopes to have an agreement in place in time for their June 28 annual shareholder meeting and to close the deal by March 2018.
Meanwhile, Western Digital continues to object to Toshiba's efforts to spin off and sell their portion of the Toshiba–SanDisk joint venture. Western Digital has not been able to keep pace in the bidding war for Toshiba's memory business, and they are seeking to intervene in any attempt by Toshiba to conduct a sale without consent from Western Digital's SanDisk subsidiary. In May, Western Digital initiated arbitration proceedings against Toshiba, and last week Western Digital filed for a preliminary injunction to prevent Toshiba from selling the memory business until the arbitration is resolved. A hearing on the injunction request is scheduled for July 14.
A profitable sale of the memory business is crucial to Toshiba's financial health as other portions of the conglomerate are deeply troubled. Toshiba's Westinghouse nuclear power subsidiary filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this year after an annual loss of around $9 billion. Those losses and continued effects from previous accounting scandals forced Toshiba to put their thriving flash memory manufacturing business on the market as the only way to raise enough money in a short timeframe. The winning bid for Toshiba's memory business is expected to be at least $18 billion. No matter who ends up buying the Toshiba memory business, the landscape of the flash memory market will be very different. Toshiba is currently the second-largest manufacturer of NAND flash memory, behind Samsung.