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Taiwan's Hon Hai eyes stake in Toshiba's memory chip business: sources

Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. has emerged as a bidder for a stake in Toshiba Corp's memory chip business, sources with knowledge about the matter told the Mainichi Shimbun on Feb. 7.

Toshiba has said it will spin off its flash-memory unit. Nearly 10 companies, including major U.S. hard-disc drive maker Western Digital Corp., have expressed their interest in acquiring a stake in the Toshiba unit.

Hon Hai bought Japan's Sharp Corp. in August 2016. Although Hon Hai does not produce semiconductors itself, Sharp has been producing them in Hiroshima Prefecture. Sharp has been pushing for development of ultra-high-definition 8K televisions that provide clearer images than 4K TVs that currently provide the highest-quality images. Therefore, Hon Hai apparently judged that it would be able to secure a synergetic effect with Sharp's liquid crystal and other businesses if it were to acquire a stake in Toshiba's memory chip unit.

Toshiba has run into financial difficulty as it is expected to incur a loss of about 680 billion yen in its U.S. nuclear business in the fiscal year that ends in March 2017. Toshiba is aiming to strengthen its financial base by raising 200 billion yen to 300 billion yen from outside investment in up to a 20 percent stake in its memory chip unit that it plans to sell soon in an attempt to avoid having excessive debt. In line with proposals from interested companies, Toshiba is to select a successful bidder for the stake in its memory chip unit possibly by the end of February.

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