Apple, Dell join bid for Toshiba's chip biz

Apple, Dell join bid for Toshiba's chip biz
Apple and computing giant Dell will join a Foxconn-led consortium bidding for Toshiba Corp’s highly prized chip unit, the CEO of the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer said on Monday.

Terry Gou, Foxconn’s founder and chief executive, said that US-based Kingston Technology, a maker of memory products, would also be part of the bidding group, while Amazon.com was close to joining.

The Taiwanese firm is also in discussions with Alphabet’s Google, Microsoft and Cisco Systems about their participation in the bid, he said.

He declined to say how much Apple and other U.S. firms planned to invest.

“I can tell you Apple is in for sure,” Gou said in an interview, adding that its participation had been approved by Chief Executive Tim Cook and Apple’s board of directors.

Asked about the total size of the Foxconn-led offer, he declined to give a figure, saying only that it was “very close” to other bids.

Toshiba is rushing to find a buyer for the world’s second-largest producer of NAND chips, which it values at $18 billion or more, to cover billions of dollars in cost overruns at its now-bankrupt US nuclear business Westinghouse Electric Corp. Foxconn, however, has not been seen as a frontrunner for the unit due to its deep ties with China, where it manufactures much of its products.

The Japanese government has said that it will block any deal that would risk the transfer of key chip technology out of the country.

Gou said that the Foxconn-led consortium contained no Chinese capital and had the advantage of not inviting as much antitrust scrutiny as other suitors. He also played down potential opposition from the Japanese government to the bid.

“The key is that we are all customers, we are users,” he said.

Foxconn, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry, and its Japanese unit Sharp Corp would have a combined stake of not more than 40%, he added.

Representatives for Apple and the other US firms named by Gou could not be immediately reached for comment outside of regular business hours. Sharp declined to comment.

Separately a source familiar with the matter said Japanese telecoms and internet giant SoftBank Group Corp was also part of the Foxconn-led consortium.

SoftBank declined to comment. Toshiba was not immediately available for comment.

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