When Toshiba first announced that it was selling its chip business, the company was weighing offers from three separate groups of investors: Western Digital, FoxConn, and Bain Capital. The Japanese conglomerate initially settled on an agreement with Bain Capital, but that deal was nixed when Western Digital threatened legal action.
Since Western Digital jointly owns one of Toshiba’s chip production plants, the company argued that Toshiba couldn’t sell the business without its consent. In fear of being sued, Toshiba reneged on their agreement with Bain—a smart choice, given that Western Digital is backed by KKR. Founded in 1976 by Henry Kravis, Jerome Kohlberg, and George Roberts, KKR is one of the largest private equity firms in the world. In other words, a lawsuit coming from Western Digital would have packed a pretty penny.
But that was weeks ago. Toshiba has since accepted a new $18 billion offer from a Bain-led consortium that includes key players Apple, Dell, Seagate, and Kinston Technology.
Just when it seemed that Toshiba’s nine-month sale process had finally reached an end, another wrench got thrown into the process. This time, it was Apple.
Sources close to the deal say that it was delayed because Apple had not agreed on key terms. However, it’s still unclear what those specific key terms were.
When Reuters reached out for further explanation, Toshiba responded, “While we cannot comment on the detail of the deal procedure, we aim to sign the agreement with the purchaser as early as possible.”
Toshiba did officially sign the deal as of Thursday, but a scheduled press conference about the announcement was canceled. Bain claims that the consortium could not reach an agreement on whether or not to brief the public. Some analysts speculate that the eight-member consortium has too many conflicting interests for it to function well—a classic case of too many cooks in the kitchen.