Things had gone very quiet since it was reported back in June that Apple would be part of a consortium bidding to buy Toshiba’s chip-making division. This would help Apple secure NAND chips in a market in which there is strong competition for components.

More recently, it had appeared that Western Digital would emerge as the successful bidder. But a new report suggests today that Apple is back in the running, this time without Foxconn …

Reuters today reports that U.S. investment company Bain Capital is leading a bid, with Apple as a partner.

A consortium led by Bain Capital has made a revised last-ditch offer for Toshiba Corp’s chip unit worth about $18 billion, bringing in Apple Inc to help bolster its bid, sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.

The new offer comes as separate sources say the embattled Japanese conglomerate and Western Digital Corp are struggling to strike a deal ahead of their self-imposed deadline of Thursday.

The numbers given in the piece indicate that Apple would effectively end up with around a 20% stake in the business.

Bain had previously attempted to buy the division, with Toshiba looking favorably on the offer, but talks fell through when Western Digital – which had an existing partnership agreement with the chipmaker – threatened legal action. Reuters says that the new bid addresses this.

Bain’s new offer is designed to get around that problem as it will invite the state-backed investors – the Innovation Network of Japan (INCJ) and the Development Bank of Japan (DBJ) – to invest in the business only after any arbitration with Western Digital is settled, the source said.

Reuters says that Apple was not available for comment at the time the piece was written.


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