Toshiba Signs $18B Deal to Sell Memory Business to Bain Consortium

Toshiba memory chip division going to Bain Capital

It’s Official: Toshiba just sold its memory chip division to the Bain Capital consortium that includes Apple. The deal cost US$18 billion, and may be the beginning of a drama-fest for the buying partners.

Toshiba memory chip division going to Bain Capital
Toshiba selling its memory business to Bain

Toshiba had been looking to sell its memory chip business to raise the money it needs to stay afloat after amassing billions in losses from its Westinghouse division. The deal, which got a preliminary green light earlier this month, gives Toshiba that much needed cash infusion.

For the companies in the Bain consortium, however, this could signal the beginning of some serious infighting. The group includes Apple, Dell, Kingston Technology, Seagate Technology, and SK Hynix—all of whom are expecting to get their hands on Toshiba’s NAND technology.

The deal also had a last minute switch up when Apple demanded new terms for its participation in the consortium. Based on the information available now it looks like Apple gets better access to memory chips for its own products.

The consortium members seem to already be showing how poorly they work together. The group cancelled a press briefing minutes before it was scheduled to start over disagreements about how the event should be handled.

Western Digital is still in the picture, too, because it is contesting Toshiba’s deal because of a joint partnership it has with the chip maker. WD is pushing for an injunction to block the sale because it hasn’t given consent.

That means there’s still a chance the Bain buyout could be shot down, but at this point it doesn’t seem likely. The consortium partners really want to keep their deal in place and they have deep enough pockets to find a way to make that happen.

Toshiba is aiming to complete the transaction by next spring so we’ll likely hear about more drama surrounding the sale before then.

[Thanks to Reuters for the heads up]

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