Apple and Amazon join Foxconn in bid for chipmaker

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Foxconn Wisconsin
Foxconn has friends in the right places!
Photo: Foxconn

Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou has confirmed that Apple will help it in its bid to buy Toshiba’s semiconductor business — and it’ll be getting a helping hand from Amazon, too.

In an interview, Gou said that the two companies would be “[chipping] in funds” as part of the acquisition effort — although it’s not clear exactly what form this investment will take. Foxconn is also teaming with Japanese company Sharp as part of the deal.

“Foxconn can confirm that we have submitted a bid for Toshiba’s chip business with a number of strategic partners,” Foxconn told Reuters. It says it will share details about the deal “at the appropriate time.”

Despite its impressive backing, however, Reuters notes that Foxconn may have a tall hill to climb to complete the sale:

“Foxconn, which is also a major supplier to Apple, is not seen as a frontrunner for the unit, which Toshiba has valued at least $18 billion, due to its deep ties with China. The Japanese government has said it will block any deal that would risk the transfer of key chip technology out of the country.”

With Toshiba being raw second-largest memory chip maker in the world, an investment by Apple would give it a massive advantage over other smartphone makers.

Toshiba is having to sell its profitable chip business in order to recover from big losses from its nuclear division Westinghouse. If Apple does buy part of Toshiba it will be the its first major stake in a memory chipmaker. Broadcom Ltd, SK Hynix, and Western Digital are other competitors looking to acquire the business.