Apple and computing giant Dell will join a Foxconn-led consortium bidding for Toshiba’s highly-prized chip unit, the head of the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer has said.
Terry Gou, Foxconn’s founder and chief executive, said US-based Kingston Technology, a maker of memory products, would also be part of the bidding group, while Amazon.com was close to joining.
The Taiwanese firm is also in discussions with Google, Microsoft and Cisco Systems about their participation in the bid, he said. But, he declined to say how much Apple and other US firms planned to invest.
“I can tell you Apple is in for sure,” Mr Gou said, adding that its participation had been approved by chief executive Tim Cook and Apple’s board of directors.
Asked about the total size of the Foxconn-led offer, he declined to give a figure, saying only that it was “very close” to other bids.
Toshiba is rushing to find a buyer for the world’s second-largest producer of NAND chips, which it values at $18bn (€16bn) or more, to cover billions of dollars in cost overruns at its now-bankrupt US nuclear business Westinghouse Electric.
Foxconn, however, has not been seen as a frontrunner for the unit due to its deep ties with China, where it manufactures much of its products. The Japanese government has said it will block any deal that would risk the transfer of key chip technology out of the country.
Mr. Gou said the Foxconn-led consortium contained no Chinese capital and had the advantage of not inviting as much antitrust scrutiny as other suitors. He also played down potential opposition from the Japanese government to the bid. Mr. Gou’s revelations of the Foxconn-led bid come as uncertainty spikes over the make-up of the groups competing in the auction just days before Toshiba is due to announce a preferred bidder.
The laptops-to-nuclear conglomerate aims to name a winner at a board meeting on June 15. Tokyo, however, has been asking Toshiba to postpone the decision as the government-led consortium has yet to finalise its proposal. Some sources have said that the state-backed fund, the Innovation Network Corp of Japan, is also exploring a potential consortium with Bain Capital.
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