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Toshiba picks Japan government-Bain group to buy chip unit

Staff Writer |
Toshiba has chosen a consortium of Japanese government investors and Bain Capital as the preferred bidder for its chip business, aiming to seal a deal worth some $18 billion by next week as it scrambles for funds to cover massive losses.

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But prospects for a clean early resolution to the sale of the world's No. 2 producer of NAND flash chips remain unclear as Western Digital, its chips business partner that has launched legal action to prevent a deal without its consent, was not part of the winning group.

The consortium has offered around 2 trillion yen ($18 billion), a Toshiba spokesman said.

That appeared to be somewhat less than a 2.2 trillion yen offer from a rival bidder, U.S. chipmaker Broadcom (AVGO.O) and its partner U.S. private equity firm Silver Lake.

But the government-Bain consortium, while hastily and awkwardly conceived, has been seen as the most likely suitor by many analysts as it would automatically gain an implicit stamp of approval from the Japanese government which is keen to keep key semiconductor technology under domestic control.

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