Toshiba in negotiations to sell PC operations to Asus: Report

The Japanese company is looking to sell its PC business to remedy its financial situation, according to a report.
Written by Tas Bindi, Contributor

Toshiba is reportedly in negotiations with Taiwanese hardware company Asus to sell its PC operations to alleviate the financial troubles brought on by rising costs at two of its Westinghouse nuclear projects in the US, which led its Westinghouse subsidiary to file for bankruptcy protection in March.

China's Lenovo has similarly expressed interest in Toshiba's PC business, which has a strong presence in the US and Europe, according to Nikkei Asian Review. NEC and Fujitsu have already sold or agreed to sell PC operations to Lenovo.

The Japanese conglomerate has been offloading business units to cover the financial losses that led to its Westinghouse subsidiary being written down by 713 billion yen, which wiped out shareholder equity and dragged the company to a full-year loss for the second year in a row.

Reuters reported earlier this month that Toshiba is buying back a 10 percent stake in Westinghouse from minority shareholder Kazatomprom for 59 billion yen, gaining full ownership of the bankrupt business.

Toshiba earlier this week announced plans to sell 95 percent of its TV unit to Hisense in a deal worth 12.9 billion yen to Hisense Electric.

While Toshiba will retain a small 5 percent stake, the company said the deal is necessary to "strengthen Toshiba's financial base", and following the sale of its appliance business to Midea in 2016, the company wishes to unburden itself of more non-core businesses in order to stay afloat.

Toshiba expects the deal to be finalised by February 2018, pending regulatory approval.

If the sale goes through by March 2018, the company expects to record a profit of approximately 25 billion yen before tax by eradicating the TV unit's negative 11.7 billion yen position on the balance sheet.

However, the company has made no changes to its forecast, which currently stands at a net loss of 110 billion yen this financial year following the sale of Toshiba's memory chip business in September for 2 trillion yen to a consortium led by Bain Capital. The group includes Seagate and is backed by the Japanese government.

As part of the sale of Toshiba Memory, which is expected to be complete by March 2018, the company said it would be investing 350.5 billion yen into the memory chip unit, maintaining some ownership over it.

The company had originally named Bain as its preferred bidder back in June, although the sale had been slowed down after joint-venture partner Western Digital struggled to submit a competing bid alongside investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts after its original bid was rejected.

Toshiba then said it was planning to sue Western Digital for 120 billion yen, claiming the latter had interfered in the sale of the memory chip business.

Western Digital had "continually interfered with the bid process" and "exaggerated" the power it had in relation to a potential sale, Toshiba claimed, also making moves to prevent Western Digital employees in its Yokkaichi plant from accessing information pertaining to their partnership.

Toshiba also plans to restructure to remedy its current financial position, though details are yet to be finalised.

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