HON HAI PRECISION INDUSTRY, better known as Foxconn, has persuaded Apple and Amazon to join its bid for Toshiba's semiconductor business.
The move is intended to overcome objections from Western Digital, which shares a NAND flash manufacturing business with Toshiba, as well as helping to finance the deal. Foxconn has reportedly already filed a $27bn bid for the unit - three times the amount bid by Western Digital, which is already weighed down with debt following its $19bn acquisition of SanDisk in May 2016.
Western Digital acquired its 50 per cent stake in the highly rated NAND flash production facility that it shares with Toshiba as a result of the deal.
In an interview with Japan's Nikkei daily business newspaper, Foxconn chairman Terry Gou claimed that the two US companies planned to "chip in funds", although it was unclear whether they would simply be helping to finance the deal or whether they would be taking a stake in the business.
Foxconn's bid is being led by its Sharp Corporation electronics business, which it acquired outright only last year, principally for its expertise in display technologies. In a statement to Reuters, the company admitted that its bid would include a number of partners.
"Foxconn can confirm that we have submitted a bid for Toshiba's chip business with a number of strategic partners," the company told Reuters, but added that it would elaborate on the details "at the appropriate time".
Regardless of Apple and Amazon's involvement - or otherwise - Foxconn may struggle to convince the Japanese government to approve the deal because of its closeness to China. The Japanese government has pledged to stop any deal for Toshiba's chip unit that might see technology transferred out of the country.
Western Digital, meanwhile, has argued that Toshiba is barred by the terms of its joint-venture agreement from transferring the assets to any third party without its approval and has demanded that the issue be referred to arbitration.
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