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Toshiba NAND sale complicated by security concerns, US bidder preferred

Posted on Friday, March 31 2017 @ 15:24:34 CEST by

Toshiba logo
There's some more news about Toshiba's woes, yesterday I wrote the company gained shareholder approval to sell its chip unit as the company desperately needs cash to fill a gaping hole in its finances after the bankruptcy of its Westinghouse unit. Now there's a report from Nikkei Asian Review that claims Toshiba favors an American buyer because of government security concerns over encryption technology falling into the wrong hands.

US-based chip maker Broadcom and American private equity firm Silver Lake Partners (which has an investment in Broadcom) have reportedly offered a roughly 2 trillion yen ($17.9 billion) bid to acquire a majority stake in Toshiba's chip business.

Toshiba is world's second biggest NAND flash memory maker. There are a lot of potential investors for its lucrative chip business but a deal is complicated by not only the usual regulatory concerns but also by government security concerns:
Security issues will complicate the sale. Toshiba memory chips are used in solid-state drives that store classified information protected with advanced encryption. Tokyo worries that ceding this technology to a foreign company could lead to leaks of military or diplomatic secrets.

Any proposed investment in Toshiba Memory by a foreign enterprise would need to undergo a government review. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry apparently would prefer an American buyer, given the security alliance between the countries. The two deciding factors will be avoiding technology outflows and ensuring growth at Toshiba's chipmaking facilities in Yokkaichi, Japan, a senior ministry official said.
Toshiba expects to pick a winning bid before its general shareholders meeting in late June.



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