Foxconn wants Apple to join it in bid for Toshiba’s memory business

Sale of flash business critical to loss-making Japanese conglomerate’s survival

Foxconn: pulled off a $3.5 billion takeover of Japanese consumer electronics group Sharp last year. Photograph: Tyrone Siu/Reuters

Foxconn: pulled off a $3.5 billion takeover of Japanese consumer electronics group Sharp last year. Photograph: Tyrone Siu/Reuters

 

Taiwan’s Foxconn has approached Apple about a potential joint bid for Toshiba’s flash memory business in what could be a $28 billion takeover battle.

According to sources, Foxconn – officially know as Hon Hai Precision Industry – has sought the backing of the iPhone maker to strengthen its position in a bidding war that has evoked strong national pride and a backlash against Japanese technology falling into the hands of foreign rivals. The American group has yet to respond.

Toshiba’s chip division has already drawn offers from US chipmaker Broadcom, which partnered with Silver Lake; Western Digital, a chip venture partner with Toshiba; and South Korea’s SK Hynix. Foxconn has indicated it might be willing to pay as much as $28 billion, according to people involved in the talks.

Foxconn, which pulled off a $3.5 billion takeover of Japanese consumer electronics group Sharp last year, is also tapping into close ties between its founder Terry Gou and Masayoshi Son, the chief executive of Japanese internet group SoftBank, to seek financing support from Japanese lenders. But SoftBank, which owns UK chip designer Arm Holdings, is unlikely to become directly involved in the bid, another person close to the company said.

The sale of Toshiba’s NAND flash memory business, valued at $18 billion or more, is considered critical to the survival of the loss-making Japanese industrial conglomerate. Doubts have risen about Toshiba’s future as a going concern after its US nuclear unit Westinghouse filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month.

- (Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017)