Analysts debate Broadcom interest in Toshiba memory chips

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The report indicated that other firms also have come forward with bids, and Toshiba is expected to select a victor before its general shareholder's meeting in late June.

A few months ago, Toshiba made a decision to put its NAND flash memory division up for sale to make up for the loss of its USA nuclear unit (Westinghouse), which filed for bankruptcy protection. Nikkei reported on Friday that USA private equity firm Silver Lake and US chipmaker Broadcom offered Toshiba about 2 trillion yen ($18 billion) for the unit.

The Yomiuri newspaper said bidding prices from Apple, Amazon or Google, owned by Alphabet Inc, were not known. It says it expects investors to value its chip operations at about 2 trillion yen.

Toshiba is the world's No. 2 supplier of memory chips for smartphones and computers, behind South Korea's Samsung, and the business accounted for about a quarter of its 5.67 trillion yen in revenue the last fiscal year.

Toshiba shareholders had agreed after a highly contested vote to split the company's NAND flash memory business.

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The huge conglomerate announced Wednesday that its troubled United States nuclear (Other OTC: UCLE - news) power unit Westinghouse Electric had filed for bankruptcy protection.

The latest bit comes amidst the specter of the company having its shares delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Toshiba will begin negotiating with individual candidates next month, the Nikkei said.

Toshiba, which bought Westinghouse in 2006 for US$5.4 billion, now faces months of complex negotiations over the fate of its USA nuclear business, a discussion that could embroil the United States and Japanese governments.

It added that any proposed investment by a foreign company would require a government review because of worries over technology outflows and leak of security information from systems using Toshiba memory chips.