Apple and Foxconn to bid for Toshiba's chip business

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

While Toshiba has been narrowing the field of interested buyers, there are also signs the process is being put on hold after joint-venture partner Western Digital Corp. warned a sale may violate a contract it has with Toshiba.

"The bidding for Toshibia now being carried out is not binding".

Industry watchers said Chey's remark reflects SK hynix's willingness to focus efforts on the acquisition when the main bidding kicks off.

Toshiba has reportedly narrowed down the list of bidders to Western Digital, Foxconn, Hynix, and a joint bid between United States chip maker Broadcom and private equity firm Silver Lake Partners. With the Japanese government concerned about what it sees as the transfer of sensitive technology to companies and investors deemed a national threat, the new plan calls for Toshiba to keep a small ownership stake in the business to allay these fears.

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However, the competition became heated after Hon Hai proposed a whopping 31 trillion won for the bid.

Toshiba president Satoshi Tsunakawa earlier said, "We will put priority on the price and the quick completion of transaction when selecting an acquirer".

SK Group's chief has shown a strong will to take over the memory division of Japanese tech giant Toshiba Corp., as the group's chipmaking unit, SK hynix Inc., joined the race for the acquisition.

However, even if SK hynix buys the chip unit, it may suffer from the winner's curse, Daishin Securities said. Foxconn by itself reportedly made an opening round bid of $18 billion for the business, which is the second largest flash memory operation on the planet topped only by Samsung. Toshiba's memory chips are used in smartphones, personal computers and data centers, putting them at the heart of a shift away from hard disk drives.

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