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14 April 2017, 02:44 | Ignacio Smith
The iPhone-maker is prepared to make a direct investment of several billion dollars in Toshiba Memory for a stake of "several tens" of percent, Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported in its lunchtime news.
It is also said that Apple could be teaming up with their manufacturing partner Foxconn who is reportedly eyeing a 30% stake in the company, although it is said that Toshiba might reject Foxconn's bid due to the company's ties with China.
Yukihito Uchida, a spokesman for Toshiba, declined to comment on Apple's involvement and the NHK article.
Sources said Hon Hai, better known as Foxconn, suggested 3 trillion Japanese yen (US$27 billion), beating other rivals, including SK hynix.
An investment by Apple would be its first direct stake in a major global memory chipmaker as it seeks to secure a stable supply of key components. Currently, Samsung is the largest provider with a 37 percent share, followed by Toshiba with 18 percent, Western Digital with 17 percent, Micron Technology with 10 percent and SK hynix with 9.6 percent. The Japanese company is in the process of narrowing down the bidders for the semiconductor business, which is profitable. The approval is crucial for the troubled conglomerate, which needs billions of dollars in fresh funding to tide it over before it can complete the sale of the memory chip unit, which is expected to raise around 2 trillion yen.
There have been four main suitors for Toshiba's semiconductor business: U.S. chipmaker Broadcom in partnership with Silver Lake Partners, South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix; Taiwanese contract manufacturer Foxconn; and Western Digital.
Toshiba chips feature in smartphones but also computers and data centres.
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