U.S. suitors get major advantage as Japan to vet bidders in Toshiba chip sale over national security risks

“The Japanese government, fretting over the future of Toshiba Corp’s flagship memory chips unit, is prepared to block a sale to bidders it deems a risk to national security, sources said, a stance that gives U.S. suitors a major advantage,” Kentaro Hamada and Makiko Yamazaki report for Reuters.

“The government would use Japan’s foreign exchange and foreign trade laws to control the auction if need be, one of the sources said,” Hamada and Yamazaki report. “‘The United States is the only feasible partner from Japan’s national security standpoint,’ said another source, noting that cutting-edge chips are at the heart of robotics, artificial intelligence and connected devices.”

“Seeking to plug an upcoming $6.3 billion write down for its U.S. nuclear unit Westinghouse and create a buffer for future potential losses, Toshiba is rushing to sell most or even all of the unit – world’s second-biggest NAND chip producer – which it values at at least $13 billion,” Hamada and Yamazaki report. “U.S. suitors include data storage firm Western Digital which operates a Japanese chip plant with Toshiba, rival Micron Technology Inc and financial investors like Bain Capital, sources have previously said. Preferring those bidders would exclude others including South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix Inc, Taiwan’s Foxconn… and TSMC.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: There are some interesting dynamics in play here: Nuclear power plants, Japan, U.S. trade policy, potential changes to U.S. trade policy, national security, chip fabs, Apple iPhones, many other tech devices and computers, artificial intelligence, etc.

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