South Korea's SK Hynix Inc has joined a last-minute bid for Toshiba Corp's semiconductor business, countering a $20 billion offer from U.S. chipmaker Broadcom Ltd, people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday. The Japan-U.S.-Korea bid, being arranged by Japan's Ministry for the Economy, Trade and Industry, groups government lenders Development Bank of Japan and Innovation Network Corp of Japan, the Asahi newspaper reported on Wednesday.
It would exceed the 2 trillion yen ($18 billion) minimum sought by struggling Toshiba, the newspaper reported citing an unnamed source. A person familiar with the matter said Hynix was involved in the bid, while another person briefed on the matter said the Asahi report was correct on the participants in the consortium, but he could not provide further details.
INCJ, DBJ and U.S. private equity firm Bain Capital LP would each invest 300 billion yen in a special-purpose company to buy Toshiba Memory Corp. Toshiba itself would contribute up to 100 billion yen and other Japanese firms a combined 140 billion yen, while U.S. investment firm KKR & Co LP is considering putting in 100 billion yen, the Asahi said.
Hynix would lend 300 billion yen to the project and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ 400 billion yen, it said. Toshiba shares were down about 4 percent in early trade. DBJ, MUFJ, a unit of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc and Bain could not immediately be reached for comment. Toshiba, Hynix, INCJ and KKR declined to comment. METI did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Last-minute jockeying has made it likely that Toshiba will not be able to select a preferred bidder by Thursday as it had hoped, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters. The tussle to sell struggling Toshiba's chips unit - to cover billions of dollars in losses from its now-bankrupt U.S. nuclear business - has heated up in recent days.
Toshiba joint-venture partner Western Digital Corp decided to raise its offer to at least 2 trillion yen, a source said on Saturday. The CEO of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co told Reuters on Monday the Taiwanese firm was leading a group including Apple Inc, computing giant Dell Inc and Kingston Technology Co.