Apple considers bid for Toshiba arm

The reason for not completely buying out the company is because there is concern by the Japanese government about a non-Japanese entity owning the company, which is why Apple plans for Toshiba to keep some shares so that there will be partial Japanese ownership. An Apple bid would add another layer of complexity, given its large cash position and influence as the maker of iPhones.

An investment with Foxconn would mark Apple's first direct stake in a significant memory chip company, Reuters said, and would help solidify a key element of the supply chain that has become a hallmark for the iPhone vendor. If the USA firm wins the bid, it will not only be able to design its own flash memory, but it will be a major setback for Samsung.

The American firm is supposedly collaborating with its supplier Foxconn and is "willing to spend billions of dollars" in order to acquire a "substantial stake" with Toshiba in the Japanese firm's semiconductor business.

In the meantime, Western Digital has already requested Toshiba that they be given exclusive negotiating rights.

Toshiba is splitting off and selling its semiconductor business following the collapse of USA nuclear power business subsidiary, Westinghouse Electric Co.

On Tuesday Toshiba warned it may not continue as a 'going concern. SoftBank Group considering getting involved in the Toshiba chip unit bidding and may cooperate with Hon Hai or Apple, the people said.

Western Digital's objection has yet to be resolved, but Toshiba has denied a claim by Bloomberg that the sale had been put on hold.

The memory chip business is one of the backbones of the company.

Some small lenders have balked at the idea as they have been offered other Toshiba assets as collateral, such as group companies' shares and real estate, but Toshiba's main lenders expect all creditors to approve the move, the people said.

Toshiba chips feature in smartphones but also computers and data centres.

  • Eleanor Harrison