Antitrust authorities in China have finally approved the sale of Toshiba Memory Corporation to a consortium of companies led by private equity firm Bain Capital.
The approval was announced today by Toshiba in a short statement - although hasn't been confirmed yet by China's State Administration for Market Regulation. Nevertheless, the regulator's approval will mean that the company now has the green light to complete the transaction, agreed last year, which values the company at $18 billion.
"The parties will now take necessary procedures to close the transaction, which is currently expected to occur on June 1, 2018," Toshiba revealed today (PDF).
The approval should lay to rest rumours circulating recently that Toshiba would welcome a rejection by anti-trust authorities, having solved its financial difficulties with a fresh injection of funds, while Toshiba Memory is arguably worth even more today following the spike in memory chip and NAND flash prices.
However, Toshiba's creditors, according to Reuters, remained keen for the deal to go through, arguing that the company in its current condition lacked the resources to back the hefty capital investments that Toshiba Memory requires to remain a market leader.
The Bain consortium includes South Korea's SK Hynix, which also makes NAND flash chips, as well as Apple, Dell, Seagate and Kingston Technology. In addition, Toshiba will retain a 40 per cent stake and, together with technology firm Hoya, will ensure that Japanese companies retain a controlling stake of just over 50 per cent.
The inclusion of Seagate and Hynix in the consortium, meanwhile, had aggravated Toshiba Memory's partner Western Digital which, via its 2016 acquisition of SanDisk, enjoys 50-50 ownership of NAND flash factories in Japan and had claimed that clauses in the agreements between the two companies barred such transfers of ownership without the consent of the other partner.
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