Bain signed a memorandum of understanding with the ailing Japanese electronics giant to speed up talks to buy Toshiba's chip business. Fred Katayama reports.
Toshiba says it is now focused on selling its chips business to a group led by Bain Capital and South Korea's SK Hynix. Bain signed a memorandum of understanding with the Japanese electronics giant to speed up talks. Sources said the Bain group's latest offer is worth $22 billion. The two sides hope to reach a deal in late September. But that memorandum doesn't prevent Toshiba from negotiating with other parties. Toshiba's move is a setback to Western Digital, its joint venture partner in the NAND memory plant. Western Digital is leading a rival group bidding for the $18 billion chip business. It said it was disappointed and surprised at the latest development. A Bain representative wasn't immediately available for comment, and SK Hynix would not comment. Western Digital's shares fell at the start of trading Wednesday. Benchmark analyst Mark Miller said, "Bain indicated they kind of wanted Toshiba to work out the legal issue over the joint venture, so it still seems like Western Digital has a leg to stand on." Toshiba is racing against time. Unless it makes a deal soon, it'll be hard to gain the regulatory approval it needs by March to cover the billions of dollars in losses at its U.S. nuclear business, Westinghouse.