Toshiba has denied reports that it is about to sell off its personal computer business in a bid to raise much-needed funds before the sale of a controlling stake in Toshiba Memory Corporation goes through.
The news comes as Japanese media reports claim that the company is in talks to sell its PC manufacturing arm to Asustek Computer, best known under its Asus brandname. Today, though, the company has issued a statement rejecting these rumours.
Reuters reports that the company has looked into selling its PC business in a bid to help plug a gaping hole in in its finances and to avoid being de-listed from the Tokyo Stock Exchange at the end of its financial year in March 2018.
The Nikkei Business Daily claims that Lenovo, which is currently the world's biggest PC maker, has also shown an interest in buying Toshiba's PC making business, just weeks after it took a controlling stake in the PC-making business of Toshiba rival Fujitsu.
"Reports that Toshiba has decided to sell off the business are not grounded in fact, nor is it in discussion with any individual company," said a spokesperson for Toshiba.
PCs represent only a small amount of the company's overall business. Between April and September, it made up just 3.5 per cent of the firm's net revenue.
Furthermore, Toshiba has been struggling to compete in the PC market for years now, retrenching as mobile devices continue to supplant laptops and desktop computers.
It's also been hit with a string of financial crises. The main source of Toshiba's current financial problems is the bankruptcy of Westinghouse, the US-based nuclear power station subsidiary Toshiba took over from BNFL in 2006.
While Toshiba has agreed to sell a controlling stake in its semiconductor business to a consortium led by Bain Capital in a deal valuing it at $18bn, that may not close before the end of the financial year - especially if legal action by Toshiba Memory Corporation partner Western Digital makes headway.
According to Reuters, Toshiba needs to raise 600 billion yen ($5.3bn) before the end of March if it is to avoid the possibility of delisting.
A report in the Yomiuri newspaper in Japan suggests that, in order to make the deadline, Toshiba is exploring the possibility of a capital increase for the complex, ongoing Toshiba Memory deal.
Earlier this week, Toshiba reached an agreement to sell its TV manufacturing unit to Chinese white goods and electronics giant Hisense for just $114m.
"Toshiba positions social infrastructure, energy, electronic devices and digital solutions as mid-term focus business domains and is concentrating its management sources in these domains," it said in a statement.
"In these circumstances, it has become difficult for Toshiba itself to further invest its management resources and execute measures to strengthen the competitiveness of the Visual Products business.
"Toshiba has accordingly determined the best way to strengthen and increase the corporate value of Toshiba Visual Solutions and to ensure its continued development is to transfer it to Hisense."
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