Toshiba has had an eventful past few years, to put it mildly, selling its imaging sensor business to domestic arch-rival Sony and medical systems division to Canon in the wake of a 2015 accounting scandal of epic proportions, as well as failing to close a merger with similarly struggling VAIO and Fujitsu that should have allowed the three companies to mount a PC comeback.
Before the Japanese multinational conglomerate could begin to dream of any sort of a financial rebound, its majority-owned US-based Westinghouse nuclear construction subsidiary filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after generating a fresh multi-billion-dollar loss.
Now the corporation’s very survival hinges on the successful conclusion of negotiations for the sale of one of its few remaining profitable departments. But a preexisting Western Digital joint venture contract may give the American computer data storage giant first dibs, and significantly reduce the earnings potential of the prospective deal.
Meanwhile, Toshiba reportedly fears a Foxconn acquisition might be met with skepticism from Japanese and US governments, leaving Broadcom, SK Hynix and, surprise, surprise, Apple as the leading suitors for the far-reaching chip business.
Granted, Apple’s rumored interest especially in Toshiba’s flash memory modules extends to possibly taking a stake of around 20 percent with an investment of “at least several billion dollars”, in which case SoftBank or Foxconn may also still get in on the transaction.
Toshiba could even retain a partial stake in the chip venture itself to smooth things out with regulatory authorities. As for Apple, we have to point out its costliest confirmed acquisition to date was that of Beats Electronics for $3 billion, with $1 billion recently contributed to the growth of Uber’s Chinese “killer” Didi. That definitely says something about the strength and corporate appeal of this chip business.