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Toshiba, Western Digital settle differences

Toshiba and Western Digital appear to have settled their differences over the sale of Toshiba’s memory unit. The two companies have issued a statement which says they have resolved their ongoing disputes in litigation and arbitration, strengthened and extended their relationship, and enhanced their ongoing flash memory collaboration.

As part of the agreement, Western Digital will be able to invest in Fab 6, which is being built at Yokkaichi. According to the plans, Fab 6 will make flash memories based on 3D BiCS technology in 2018. Western Digital will also be able to participate in the flash fab planned for construction in Iwate.

Meanwhile, the two companies have extended their joint ventures. Flash Alliance will now run to the end of 2029, while Flash Forward runs to the end of 2027. Previously, the Flash Partners JV was extended to the end of 2029.

Dr Yasuo Naruke, president and CEO of Toshiba Memory (TMC), said: “We are very pleased to have reached this outcome, which clearly benefits all involved. With the concerns about litigation and arbitration removed, we look forward to renewing our collaboration with Western Digital and accelerating TMC’s growth to meet growing global demand for flash memory.

Western Digital’s CEO Steve Milligan added: “Western Digital’s core priorities have always been to protect the JVs and ensure their success and longevity, guarantee long-term access to NAND supply, protect our interests in the JVs and create long-term value for our stakeholders. We are very pleased that these agreements accomplish these critical goals, allow Toshiba to achieve its objectives, and also enable us to continue delivering on the power of our platform. We look forward to building upon the success of our 17 year partnership.”

With the threat of legal action removed, Toshiba is now said to be on track to complete the deal with the consortium led by Bain Capital by the end of March 2018.

Graham Pitcher

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