Hon Hai seeks stake in Toshiba semiconductor business: report

Taipei--Taiwan-based electronics manufacturing giant Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. (??) is one of several bidders seeking to acquire a stake in Toshiba Corp's semiconductor operations, the Asahi Shimbun reported on Tuesday.

The report said that Hon Hai, known as Foxconn outside Taiwan, participated in an auction for a minority stake in the company's semiconductor business held by Toshiba on Feb. 3.

In addition to Hon Hai, other participants in the auction included U.S-based Western Digital and U.S. and European investment funds, the Asahi Shimbun said. The Wall Street Journal reported on its Chinese language website that the bidders also included South Korean memory chip maker SK Hynix Inc.

According to the Asahi Shimbun, following the auction Toshiba will hold talks with individual bidders. The report said that the Japanese firm, which suffered large losses from its nuclear power business in the United States, is expected to pick a buyer by the end of this month at the earliest.

The Japanese newspaper said Toshiba is unloading its NAND Flash memory chip business. NAND flash, which is used in storage functions, can be installed in smartphones.

Hon Hai, which acquired a 66 percent stake in Japan's Sharp Corp. for US$3.5 billion in mid-August, is believed to want to expand its business beyond contract manufacturing into semiconductor business, the report said. The acquisition of the Sharp stake marked the first time a Taiwanese firm has bought into a major Japanese enterprise.

Hon Hai is currently the world's largest contract electronics maker and a major assembler of iPhones and iPads for Apple Inc.

In late January, Toshiba announced its intention to dispose of about 20 percent in its memory chip business in a bid to raise about 200 billion Japanese yen (US$1.79 billion) in funds to write down part of losses incurred in its nuclear power operations in the U.S.

Earlier, the Japanese media had reported that Toshiba's U.S. nuclear business posted about 700 billion yen in losses and that without a new injection of funds debt could surpass assets by the end of March.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel