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Apple to bid Toshiba’s chip making biz

In an attempt to make the most out of the recent twist in the sale of the world’s second-biggest flash memory chip making, Apple together with Foxconn considering to make a joint bid for Toshiba Corp’s semiconductor business, Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported recently and added that the US technology giant is considering investing at least several billion dollars to take a stake of more than 20 per cent as part of a plan that would have Toshiba keep a partial holding so the business remains under US and Japanese control. The idea would be to allay Japanese government concerns about any transfer of sensitive technology to investors it deems a potential risk to national security, the broadcaster said. To elicit reaction, Apple was not immediately available to comment. Taiwan’s Foxconn, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry, declined to comment. Foxconn, which participated in the first round of the chip sale auction, has been considered a national security risk due to its ties with China. The bulk of Apple’s iPhones are made at Foxconn’s extensive manufacturing base there. NHK said elaborating that Apple wants Foxconn to own a stake of around 30 per cent of Toshiba’s chip business. An investment by Apple would be its first direct stake in a major global memory chipmaker, as it seeks to secure a stable supply of key components. Samsung Electronics is the biggest maker of flash memory chips, followed by Toshiba, SK Hynix and US-based Micron Technology Inc. The NHK report comes as Western Digital Corp, Toshiba’s partner and one of the bidders for its chip business, warned this week that the Japanese firm’s plans to sell its chip unit violates a joint venture contract and that Western Digital wants to be given exclusive negotiating rights.

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