Apple in play as Toshiba misses sale deadline

UPDATE 1-Toshiba may not finalise chip unit sale by Aug. 31 deadline -sources

Toshiba's main creditors, Innovation Network Corp. of Japan and the Development Bank of Japan, would then parter with South Korean chip manufacturer SK Hynix Inc to raise the 1.6 trillion Yen (£11.2 billion) needed to complete the purchase.

The new offer comes as separate sources say the embattled Japanese conglomerate and Western Digital Corp are struggling to strike a deal ahead of their self-imposed deadline of Thursday.

Bain Capital has made a last ditch attempt to close the $18 billion deal for Toshiba's chip business unit, by adding Apple to the syndicate of purchasers.

The proposal also calls for Toshiba to be part of the deal, investing 200 billion yen, the source said. The loss-hit conglomerate said bidders include a group led by USA investment fund Bain Capital and Japanese state-backed investors and another that includes Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision, better known as Foxconn.

Despite frayed relations between Western Digital and Toshiba, one source familiar the matter said early this week that their discussions were in final stages, with Steve Milligan, the chief executive of the U.S. firm, in town to hammer out details.

Toshiba has been attempting to try and sell its chip business, due to billions lost in its USA nuclear business Westinghouse, which has gone bankrupt.

Pervez Musharraf declared fugitive in ex-PM Benazir Bhutto assassination case
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Western Digital remains in contention despite months of brawling Toshiba in court over the fate of the world's second largest memory business. Toshiba Memory is expected to sell for $18 billion, according to press reports.

By taking part in the bidding, Apple could help ensure a competitive supply chain and lessen its dependence on the chip division of Samsung, a key rival in the smart phone business.

A Bain-led group had previously been chosen by Toshiba as its preferred bidder.

Sources familiar the matter have said talks with Western Digital were in final stages but the two sides were struggling to come to an agreement over the USA company's future stake in the business. Reuters reported on Monday that Western Digital had taken the top spot at the negotiating table. Kaori Hiraki, Toshiba's spokeswoman, declined to comment on details of the deal negotiations.

"Western Digital and Toshiba really need each other because they can't compete against Samsung without partners", he added.

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