Public-private fund eyes bid for Toshiba memory ops
INCJ could join all-Japan alliance or assemble own team
TOKYO -- The Innovation Network Corp. of Japan is weighing a joint bid for Toshiba's semiconductor memory operations, the well-heeled public-private fund's CEO said.
"We have put together a team to study the possibility, based on publicly available information," Toshiyuki Shiga told a news conference Tuesday. "We're not going to just sit on our hands, given the size of the opportunity," he said when asked about the possibility of INCJ investing in Toshiba Memory, created when the struggling conglomerate spun off its memory operations.
INCJ's basic mission is to "promote the creation of next-generation businesses" for the good of Japan. Shiga therefore stressed that any bid would be weighed carefully. "We can't be a place [companies] turn for cash when it suits them," he said.
Toshiba Memory is valued at between 1.5 trillion yen and 2 trillion yen ($13.8 billion and $18.4 billion) -- too large for INCJ to purchase on its own. "We would team up with other companies" on a bid, Shiga said. The question now is how, and with whom. Efforts are underway to assemble a team Japan alliance, with major Japanese companies and investment funds making small contributions to a bid spearheaded by business leaders and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
The first round of bidding on the memory business closed at the end of March, and brought acquisition offers from companies including Western Digital and Broadcom of the U.S., South Korea's SK Hynix and Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry. Not a single Japanese entity entered the fray. Toshiba aims to pick a buyer before a general shareholders meeting in late June. Various contenders have begun talking with the company one-on-one in preparation for the second round of the bidding.