Toshiba scrambles to start chip biz minority stake sale – reports

US nuclear power plant fiasco prompts fears of writedown

Reuters is reporting that Toshiba has started its chip business minority stake sale process.

It's looking to offset the potential $4.4bn or greater losses from its US nuclear power station business. Potential purchasers of a 20-30 per cent stake in the NAND fabs are current foundry partner Western Digital and Japanese banks. Three private equity firms – Bain Capital, Permira and Silver Lake – are also said to be interested.

Toshiba's NAND fabs and SSDs contribute the largest part of the company's operating profits. Income from a sale could offset the losses from Toshiba's nuclear plant fiasco and prevent a writedown of its overall net worth.

The chip business has been valued at anywhere between $8.7bn and $17.4bn so a 25 per cent stake could cost from $2.2bn to twice as much. Any Western Digital purchase might incite an antitrust review. Western Digital has not commented on the affair.

For those of us with a sense of mischief, we can't find any hint whether Seagate is interested in having a pop. ®


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