Toshiba shares surge amid memory chip business bid reports

Sale of its memory chip business is crucial for cash-strapped Toshiba

Toshiba shares surged on Friday as reports said around 10 companies and funds including Apple had bid to buy its memory chip business, a day after shareholders approved the spin-off plan.

Toshiba surged as high as 9.55 percent to 250 yen, after the leading business daily Nikkei reported the first round of bidding was reportedly completed.

US private-equity firm Silver Lake Partners and American chipmaker Broadcom have apparently tendered bids of roughly 2 trillion yen ($17.9 billion).

Toshiba shares were up 7.88 percent at 246.3 yen in late afternoon trade.

The mass circulation Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan's top-selling daily, reported that about 10 companies, including US tech giant Apple, made bids for the chip business, citing unnamed sources privy to the matter.

A Toshiba spokesman declined to confirm the reports.

They came a day after angry investors lambasted Toshiba executives at a shareholder meeting for its warning that annual losses could balloon to more than $9.0 billion.

Still, they agreed to the sale of the memory chip business, the jewel in the Japanese giant's crown.

The huge conglomerate announced Wednesday that its troubled US nuclear power unit Westinghouse Electric had filed for bankruptcy protection.

Toshiba, a pillars of corporate Japan, also warned its annual losses, mainly tied to Westinghouse, could blow out to 1.01 trillion yen ($9.07 billion), compared with an earlier projected shortfall of 390 billion yen.

The sale of its memory chip business is crucial for cash-strapped Toshiba, which may escape the risk of being delisted but will still likely to demoted to the second section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

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

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.

Toshiba president Satoshi Tsunakawa said at a press conference this week that the company's chip business is worth of "at least 2 trillion yen."