Toshiba, Western Digital Make Peace on Sale of Chip Unit

Toshiba Corp is seen behind cherry blossoms at the company's headquarters in Tokyo Japan

Western Digital is clearly a loser here because it was strongly opposed to that sale, as the consortium also includes two of its biggest rivals, USA firm Seagate Technology Plc. and South Korean company SK Hynix Inc., which will now obtain some of WD's production assets via the joint venture agreements.

Perhaps most importantly, the two companies also said they've agree on "mutual protections" for any assets and information connected to the sale of Toshiba's memory business, and say they will collaborate to ensure its success following an eventual initial public offering.

Toshiba Corp. and its joint venture partner Western Digital have made peace over the embattled Japanese electronics giant's plan to sell its flash memory unit to raise cash to stay afloat.

"With the concerns about litigation and arbitration removed, we look forward to renewing our collaboration with Western Digital, and accelerating (Toshiba Memory's) growth to meet growing global demand for flash memory". Last week, the company raised ¥600 billion ($5.3 billion) through a third-party allocation of new shares with 60 overseas investment funds, effectively removing the risk of delisting and enabling the Japanese company to take the upper hand in negotiations with Western Digital with Toshiba no longer needing to quickly sell the chip unit.

Toshiba has said it hopes the sale, estimated at 2 trillion yen ($18 billion), will close by the end of March.

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The agreement allows Western Digital to participate in future investments in their joint venture, clearing the way for a consortium led by Bain Capital to buy Toshiba Memory Corp., the companies said Wednesday. Western Digital confirmed reports earlier in the day of a settlement with a filing Tuesday afternoon that breaks down the revised agreement for new manufacturing facilities.

Toshiba had told Western Digital that unless it dropped its lawsuit, the Japanese manufacturer would build a new chip production plant on its own at its Yokkaichi plant in Mie Prefecture. Western Digital will also participate in a new flash wafer fabrication facility that will be constructed in Iwate, Japan.

The compromise means that Toshiba Memory Corp.'s sale to the Bain Capital consortium will go ahead as planned. But the company has said it expects to return to the black by the end of this fiscal year, in March.

Toshiba decided in February to sell its prized flash memory business after the company's shareholder equity fell deep into the red.

Toshiba had held talks with Western Digital, the Bain-led consortium and other potential buyers, including Hon Hai Precision Industry of Taiwan.

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