Monday March 13, 2017

Japan to Vet Bidders in Toshiba Chip Sale for National Security Risks

With its US nuclear power unit, Westinghouse, suffering major financial losses and possibly even being in early bankruptcy talks, Toshiba has been looking to sell off most or all of its memory products unit, the second largest NAND producer in the world, to cover the costs. The Japanese government has announced that it has major security concerns when it comes to bids coming from certain countries, with some sources stating that companies from the United States are the only feasible bidders from a Japanese national security standpoint. Japan has further announced that they are willing to resort to using Japans Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act to block any sale to countries they deem to be a security concern.

This is said to benefit bidders such as Western Digital, Micron Technology and Bain Capital, while disadvantaging other interested buyers such as Foxconn and SK Hynix.

It will be interesting to see what impact this has on consumer costs of memory products.

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People familiar with the matter have told Reuters that Westinghouse, hit by huge cost overruns at two U.S. projects, had brought in law firm Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP as an exploratory step, but had not yet taken a decision on a bankruptcy filing.

Japan's finance minister said on Friday the company should decide in the coming weeks whether to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, freeing it up to report up to date earnings.