TOKYO -- Toshiba Machine said Wednesday it will sell the company's nearly 16% stake in NuFlare Technology to Toshiba, easing the way for the Japanese technology group to take control of the chip equipment maker.
The board decision comes less than a day before the 3:30 p.m. Jan. 16 deadline for Toshiba's tender offer, which sparked a bidding war over NuFlare but now has a greater chance of succeeding.
Attention now turns to how rival suitor Hoya will react. A spokesperson on Wednesday said the Japanese optical equipment maker will "consider all possibilities" in response to Toshiba Machine's decision.
Toshiba, which already owns 52.4% of NuFlare, said in November it seeks to take full control of the Tokyo-listed unit. Its total stake needs to reach at least two-thirds for the tender offer to succeed.
But its offer of 11,900 yen ($108) per share fell short of NuFlare's stock price. Further complicating matters was the December counteroffer from Hoya, set at 12,900 yen a share.
Hoya's bid seeks to reinforce its leading market share in glass plates used to make semiconductors, while Toshiba aims to consolidate its group by buying out minority shareholders in listed subsidiaries.
The two companies' semiconductor-related businesses are intertwined. Hoya owns about 10% of memory chip maker Kioxia, which Toshiba spun off in 2017 as part of a sweeping overhaul to right its finances.
A crucial factor in Wednesday's decision by Toshiba Machine was Toshiba's refusal in December to sell its own NuFlare holdings to Hoya. This led Toshiba Machine to conclude that Hoya's tender offer would fail.
Toshiba Machine, a manufacturer of heavy machine tools, split from Toshiba in 2017 by repurchasing most of the stake held by the onetime parent company. Toshiba now owns less than 3% of Toshiba Machine, which saw funds backed by activist investor Yoshiaki Murakami emerge as its top shareholder late last year.
NuFlare has supplied customers including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and Intel.