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Toshiba says three groups interested in $20 billion chip unit

Staff Writer |
Toshiba said that three groups are vying for its memory chip business, as reports said Apple has jumped into the race with a consortium offering to pay about $20 billion for the unit.

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The loss-hit conglomerate said bidders include a group led by US investment fund Bain Capital and Japanese state-backed investors and another that includes Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision, better known as Foxconn.

A third consortium includes Western Digital, Toshiba's US-based chip factory partner, which has tried to block any sale to a third-party in court.

Selling the profitable chip division is seen as key to cash-strapped Toshiba's survival as one of Japan's best-known firms struggles to plug multi-billion-dollar losses at its US nuclear power division, Westinghouse Electric.

Toshiba did not mention Apple, which has joined the Bain-led consortium, according to reports in Japan's Nikkei businessdaily and top-selling Yomiuri newspaper.

Toshiba poured cold water on reports that it would make a final decision Thursday, saying it had been unable to reach a "mutually satisfactory definitive agreement with one of the consortia".

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