China approves sale of $18 billion Toshiba chip unit to Bain-led consortium: NHK

TOKYO (Reuters) – China regulatory authorities have approved the $18 billion sale of Toshiba Corp’s (6502.T) chip unit to a consortium led by U.S. private equity firm Bain Capital, Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported on Thursday, without citing sources.

FILE PHOTO: A logo of Toshiba Corp is seen outside an electronics retail store in Tokyo, Japan, February 14, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai/File Photo

The antimonopoly review has been the biggest and last hurdle to the sale of the troubled Japanese conglomerate’s most prized asset.

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A Toshiba spokeswoman said the company had not confirmed whether there had been any approval by Chinese regulators.

A representative for China’s State Administration for Market Regulation said he was not aware of the situation and did not comment further. A representative for Bain was not immediately available for comment.

The prolonged review has fueled speculation that Toshiba might abandon the deal and pursue alternative plans such an IPO for the unit.

At its earnings briefing on Tuesday, Toshiba CEO Nobuaki Kurumatani said “we haven’t heard anything negative from Chinese regulators.”

Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki and Taiga Uranaka in Tokyo; Additional reporting by Stella Qiu in Beijing; Editing by Edwina Gibbs

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Paul Rosen