Apple, Amazon and Foxconn Face Tough Odds in Their Bid for Toshiba’s Chip Unit

Though Broadcom (AVGO) just signaled that it’s no longer bidding for cash-strapped Toshiba’s valuable NAND flash memory unit, Taiwanese contract manufacturing giant Foxconn apparently remains undeterred, and has won the backing of two tech giants with large internal flash memory needs. But given political pressures and Western Digital’s (WDC) recent moves, the bid faces an uphill battle.

In a talk with Japan’s Nikkei, Foxconn chairman Terry Gou confirmed prior reports that his company has bid for the Toshiba unit, and that Apple (AAPL) and (AMZN) are taking part. Apple and Amazon could each use a Toshiba investment to help guarantee stable supplies and reasonable prices for the massive amounts of flash memory used by both their consumer hardware businesses and their cloud data centers.

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Gou didn’t disclose the size of Foxconn’s bid, or how much Apple and Amazon are contributing. However, the Nikkei’s sources state Foxconn parent Hon Hai Precision “is the highest bidder among five interested buyers, supposedly offering more than 2 trillion yen ($18.2 billion).”

Second-round bids for the Toshiba unit were reportedly made last month. In addition to Foxconn, reported bidders included Western Digital, Broadcom (now apparently uninterested), a joint bid from PE firm Bain Capital and South Korean memory maker SK Hynix and a bid featuring PE firm KKR and two state-backed Japanese funds.

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