Toshiba closer to deal with Bain, Hynix group

Toshiba selects Bain group as buyer of its memory chip business

The division is the world's No.2 producer of NAND memory chips with the product being used in Apple's iPhones and iPods.

Toshiba said it hoped to sign a final agreement "soon" in hopes of closing the sale by the end of its fiscal year in March. -South Korean consortium led by US private equity fund Bain Capital, informed sources said.

Toshiba's sale has been complicated and delayed by its venture partner Western Digital, which wanted input into any business sale as partner in the chip business.

The Bain-led group was identified as a preferred bidder nearly three months ago, but the process has been delayed by the lawsuits, government opposition and corporate indecision.

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The deal, agreed to by Toshiba's board of directors at a meeting Wednesday (Sept. 20), came just hours after the Retuers news service, citing anonymous sources, reported that Toshiba was once again leaning toward accepting a rival bid from Western Digital.

Western Digital has tried to block the sale in court, but so far the company has been unsuccessful in halting the sale completely. The decision will be announced later on Wednesday, said sourced familiar with the matter. Western Digital had originally been part of the KKR group, but agreed to withdraw because of opposition from Toshiba. Today a Korean news site is claiming that Toshiba has picked the Bain, Sk Hynix and Apple group to sell its memory unit to. Seagate helped bring in Hoya Corp., another Japanese company, which calmed Toshiba, one of the people said, and helped the deal go forward. A month later, the American hard-drive manufacturer formed its own consortium that consisted of American private-equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, the Development Bank of Japan and Innovation Network Corp. and entered into negotiations by offering 2 trillion yen.

Bain Group revised its offer, by seeking financial support from Apple.

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