Wednesday, 25 April, 2018

Toshiba, Western Digital Settle Fight Over Chip Unit Sale

Western Digital had injected itself into Toshiba’s attempts to find a buyer tried to join a rival bidding consortium and according to the Toshiba side made the whole process more difficult What the Numbers Say About NetApp, Inc. (NTAP) and Western Digital Corporation (WDC)
Preston Stone | 13 December, 2017, 09:36

Computer storage giants Toshiba Corp. and Western Digital Corp. have finally ended their long-running dispute over the sale of the former company's flash memory business. Toshiba needed to raise capital to avoid seeing its shares delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Under the settlement terms, Western Digital will get extensions of its existing joint ventures and will resume sharing the bill for equipment used in the Japanese plants, providing access to technology that's the future of its business.

The partners have been locked in a legal battle since early this year after Toshiba said it would sell the chip business to pay for enormous losses in its USA nuclear business.

The agreement calls for the two companies to invest in and develop cutting-edge memory chips together.

In May, Western Digital filed suit with the International Court of Arbitration to stop Toshiba's sale of Toshiba Memory to a third party.

Bigwigs from Toshiba, Western Digital, and Bain said how pleased they were that Tosh and WDC have hugged and become friends again. Soon after, the lawsuits began to fly, with Toshiba alleging Western Digital had "continually interfered with the bid process" and "exaggerated" the amount of power the firm had in relation to any potential sale.

Toshiba and Western Digital will also strengthen their cooperation in development and production of memory chips. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

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The agreement enables Western Digital to procure advanced memory chips to be made at the new facility.

They also plan to enter into a definitive agreement "in due course" under which Western Digital will participate in a new chip plant that Toshiba will start building next year in northern Japan, the statement said.

Under the settlement announced minutes ago, TMC and Western Digital will continue other joint ventures: a state-of-the-art memory fabrication plant under construction in Yokkaichi, Japan, the home of next generation 3D flash memory production; and a new flash wafer fabrication plant constructed in Iwate, Japan. Talks will now be held to work out a final deal for the sale of Toshiba Memory, and the form of Western Digital's participation.

Western Digital, formerly based in Irvine and now in San Jose, is dropping arbitration claims in the USA that were aimed at stopping the sale to a consortium led by Bain Capital.

During negotiations with Toshiba, Western Digital called for restrictions on involvement in Toshiba Memory by its rivals in the consortium, such as SK Hynix of South Korea.

The last point confirms WDC's concerns have been addressed regarding the influence its competitors Seagate and SK Hynix - both in the Bain consortium - will have on the joint-ventures, although nothing was spelled out.

The compromise means that Toshiba Memory Corp.'s sale to the Bain Capital consortium will go ahead as planned. The U.S. -based company gets to invest and be a part of the Toshiba's new flash chip manufacturing facility which is now under construction in Yokkaichi, Japan. At the end of September, it signed a contract to sell Toshiba Memory to the consortium for 2 trillion yen ($17.67 billion). Toshiba shares have risen 12 percent since Bloomberg News reported the two sides were near a resolution.

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