Toshiba switches preferred bidder

Toshiba switches preferred bidder

Toshiba has decided to re-engage US private-equity firm Bain Capital as the preferred bidder in the sale of its chip unit.

Board members at the embattled electronics firm held a meeting on Wednesday. They say they have signed a memorandum of understanding with Bain.

Toshiba officials originally settled on a group that included Bain as their preferred bidder in June.

They later changed their minds and last month they entered into close talks with their US partner, Western Digital. But the 2 sides have been unable to reach an agreement on the stake the US company would take.

In the meantime, Bain submitted a revised offer that more closely reflects the Japanese firm's wishes.

Bain's initial plan was to create a consortium that included Innovation Network Corporation of Japan, or INCJ, a Japanese public-private fund. South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix was also expected to participate by extending loans to the group.

However under the new plan, Bain Capital will acquire 49.9 percent of Toshiba Memory while Toshiba itself will retain 40 percent. SK Hynix remains part of the team.

INCJ will not join at the start, although its participation in the future is not ruled out.

Toshiba executives aim to finalize the deal within this month. They say they haven't completely ruled out Western Digital from the bidding process.

Toshiba needs to complete the sale and be back in the black by March next year to avoid being delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange.