Sharp may buy 20% of Toshiba's memory unit
Bid with parent Foxconn could temper concerns over tech secrets
Hon Hai, the iPhone assembler known as Foxconn, has faced concerns from the Japanese government and elsewhere that a foreign purchase of the memory unit will lead to technological secrets finding their way to rivals in China or Taiwan. Sharp, a Japanese electronics giant, will lend its name to help overcome the barrier.
Sharp is looking to purchase around 10-20% of Toshiba's memory operation. Foxconn is also sounding out Apple and other U.S. companies into making investments as well. The Taiwanese group is also apparently considering a scenario where Toshiba keeps a partial stake in the unit.
Foxconn is forming a corporate alliance that centers on Japan and stretches to Taiwan and the U.S. That way it will minimize the risks of running afoul of Japanese law restricting cross-border outflows of technology related to national security. But it is still uncertain if Foxconn will sail through such a screening.
A successful purchase of Toshiba's memory business would give legs to a chipmaking plant Foxconn is thinking about building in the U.S. Meanwhile, Sharp sees memory forming the core of the "internet of things" business. The Japanese company also aims to secure a technological development tie-up and a stable supply source through this purchase.