Toshiba, Bain executives join to push for memory-chips sale

FAN Editor

The heads of Toshiba’s memory chip business and Bain Capital, the investment fund buying it, said Friday they hope to close the deal by March despite persisting opposition from Toshiba’s U.S. joint venture partner Western Digital.

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Appearing with Toshiba Memory Chief Yasuo Naruke, Bain Japan chief Yuji Sugimoto said his consortium is giving full support to the plan.

Toshiba Memory and Bain gave a media tour Friday of a flash-memory chip manufacturing plant in this central Japanese industrial town to highlight the chip unit’s technological prowess and business potential.

Tokyo-based Toshiba Corp., suffering massive losses from its nuclear business, sorely needs the sale to survive. Its U.S. nuclear operations at Westinghouse Electric Co. filed for bankruptcy earlier this year.

Toshiba spun off the memory business in July for the sale. It’s the last major asset Toshiba has left to sell.

“Please check out how energetic we are at Yokkaichi,” Naruke told reporters.

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He said channels for talks were open with Western Digital, and he hoped for cordial relations and continued cooperation with the company in product development and investments.

The plant in Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture, 290 kilometers (180 miles) southwest of Tokyo, is at the center of the squabble between Bain and U.S. joint venture partner Western Digital. It makes highly lucrative SanDisk memory chips — the business Toshiba has agreed to sell to a consortium headed by investment company Bain Capital for 2 trillion yen ($18 billion).

Western Digital has filed in U.S. arbitration court in San Francisco to block the sale. The litigation is likely to take years but a decision is expected soon on whether the sale would be halted while the case is examined.


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