Apple is reportedly keen to buy into Toshiba’s chip business that was put up for sale earlier this year. The Cupertino-based tech giant is willing to shell out as much as $3 billion, according to Bloomberg, to get a slice of the Japanese company, which is also being courted by global private equity firm Bain Capital and PC-maker Dell. If the deal goes through, it would be Apple’s biggest investment since its $3 billion acquisition of headphone-maker Beats in 2014.
Toshiba has been struggling to sell its flash memory division to cover losses from its bankrupt nuclear business in US. Earlier reports revealed that the company is looking to close a $19 billion deal; it had earlier invited bids from rival Western Digital and Foxconn. Currently, a consortium that includes Bain Capital, Dell, Seagate Technologies, and South Korean chip maker SK Hynix, is said to be bidding for Toshiba’s chip business. Apple too wants to join this consortium. ALSO READ: Apple patent reveals ‘superior’ audio system for FaceTime and HomePod
Apple reportedly plans to take an equity stake alongside Bain, in what would be the iPhone-maker’s largest business deal ever. “Apple’s money will help fill a gap left when state-backed Innovation Network Corp. of Japan and Development Bank of Japan decided to pull back from the Bain bid in the face of litigation from Western Digital,” the Bloomberg report states. An Apple spokesperson, however, declined to comment on speculations.
The bid is critical for Apple given its dependence on Toshiba‘s flash memory supplies for iPhones and iPods. Interestingly, Apple supported Foxconn’s acquisition bid for Toshiba earlier this month. The Taiwanese company has had a longstanding equation with Apple, and manufactures its iPhones, including in India. However, Japanese state officials have turned down Foxconn’s bid owing to its increasing proximity to China, which houses many of its manufacturing facilities. ALSO READ: Foxconn confirms Apple and Dell to participate in Toshiba chip unit bidding
Now, Terry Gou, the billionaire behind Apple iPhone factories, is pressing for the Toshiba deal. The latter is believed to have signed an agreement with leader of the consortium, Bain Capital, and will likely announce the deal by end of September. “What this customer consortium means is that it will provide steady funds to Toshiba to advance their R&D. At the same time, it’s a guarantee there will be more customers lining up to buy their products when they increase their capacity or have better products,” an official was quoted as saying.