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Foxconn, Amazon, Apple join Toshiba chip plant feeding frenzy

Meanwhile, Tosh shoves WDC's stake back, mutters 'keep it'

By Gareth Corfield

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Apple, Amazon and Foxconn are preparing to "chip in" for ailing Toshiba's NAND flash memory chip-making division, according to reports.

Foxconn chairman Terry Gou told Japan's Nikkei Business Daily newspaper that the two American firms would be lending "financial support" to the Chinese manufacturer's bid for the foundry – but stopped short of saying just how many shekels they are prepared to stump up.

"I cannot comment on how much funds each company is putting on the table," Gou said yesterday.

The Foxconn-Apple-Amazon alliance will be up against Western Digital Corporation (WDC) and its allies, in particular the Innovation Corporation Network of Japan (ICNJ) and US private equity biz KKR, though ICNJ's hookup with KKR is reportedly not a done deal.

Broadcom is also putting in a bid, thanks to financing from VC firm Silver Lake and no fewer than three Japanese banks.

Bain Capital may bid as well, along with South Korean semiconductor suppliers SK Hynix, for a 51 per cent stake in the foundry.

Meanwhile, as the rest of the world's technology giants squabble over its not-quite-dead body, Toshiba has returned WDC's share of the joint venture – a move it hopes will enable it to flog off the division without having to give WDC preferential treatment. ®

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