Hon Hai makes 3 trillion yen bid for Toshiba IC assets: report

Taipei--Taiwan-based Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. (??), the world's largest contract electronics maker, has offered almost 3 trillion Japanese yen (US$30 billion) to acquire the memory chip assets of Japan's Toshiba Corp., the Asahi Shimbun reported Friday.

Hon Hai, also known outside Taiwan as Foxconn, put up the highest bid to show its commitment to acquiring that part of Toshiba's operations, the paper reported.

Citing unnamed sources close to the deal, the paper said the first round of bidding for Toshiba Memory, the memory chip operations of the Japanese firm, was completed on March 29.

Hon Hai and U.S.-based integrated circuit designer Broadcom were the only two bidders to offer more than 2 trillion yen, the report said.

In February, Toshiba's board of directors approved a proposal to spin off its semiconductor operations.

Toshiba had planned to dispose of a 19.9 percent stake in Toshiba Memory but is likely to let go of it completely in an effort to cushion the heavy losses in its nuclear power business in the U.S. market, according to recent Japanese media reports.

The Toshiba Memory sale has attracted strong interest among potential bidders in Taiwan, the U.S. and South Korea, the reports said.

According to the Asahi Shimbun, about 10 bidders are competing in the first round of bidding but none of them are Japanese. They include U.S.-based Western Digital and South Korea's SK Hynix, which have each offered about 1 trillion yen, the paper said.

In an earlier report, the paper had said that the Japanese government was not keen on seeing such high-tech businesses that are critical to national security pass into the hands of Chinese or Taiwanese interests.

In particular, the Japanese government is concerned about Hon Hai's bid for Toshiba Memory since the Taiwanese company has a broad production base in China, the report said.

The second round of the bidding for Toshiba Memory is expected to be held before the end of May and the winner is expected to be announced in June before Toshiba's next shareholder meeting.

Hon Hai reportedly is seeking to expand into the semiconductor business after buying a 66 percent stake in Japan's Sharp Corp. at a cost of US$3.5 billion last August, in what was the first acquisition of a major Japanese enterprise by a Taiwanese company.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel