Weekend dealbook: Cavium to Marvell, Toshiba denies ASUS

Chipmakers could merge to take on BroadQual, Toshiba says its PCs aren't for sale

While you relaxed over the weekend, financiers and execs were busy doing deals, or hosing them down.

The bigger of the two is Marvell Technologies rumoured acquisition of Cavium, which financial press reported has a US$6bn price tag.

Marvell is a chipmaker in its own right and provides the innards for many-an-unglamorous-device. Cavium does likewise, but is better-known for a line of ARM CPUs that power networking appliances. The company has also had a waft at the ARM server market with its 64-bit ThunderX CPUs that pack up to 48 cores into a system-on-a-chip.

It's speculated that Marvell wants Cavium to improve its position in the networking market and to achieve the kind of scale that will help it to compete better with Qualcomm, or a merged Qualcomm/Broadcom.

Financial press said the deal could be announced early this week.

One deal that doesn't look like going ahead is Toshiba offloading its PC business to ASUS.

Japanese media reported the deal late last week, but Toshiba has since issued a statement [PDF] in which the company said rumours “are not grounded in fact”. The statement added that Toshiba is not “in discussion with any individual company.”

Toshiba last week sold its TV business to Chinese consumer electronics concern, with the US$113m helping it to recover from the mess made by its nuclear power business incurred.

Toshiba was the world's leading laptop-maker in the 1990s and early 2000s, when its Satellite range offered doughty workhorses while the Portégé range addressed more discerning buyers. It's since slipped well down the list of PC-makers and did not feature in the top five vendors listed by analyst firms Gartner and IDC's Q3 2017 PC shipment trackers. Missing those lists means Toshiba sold fewer than four million PCs in the quarter. Other manufacturers faced with such low sales, such as Sony, quit the market rather than struggle on in a climate of ever-slowing sales.

Other reports have suggested Toshiba is also talking to Lenovo, making it worth noting that Toshiba's denial contains opaque language that allows for the possibility of an auction process. ®

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