Toshiba to sell off most of its chip operations


Scandal-hit Toshiba Corp. has decided to sell most of its semiconductor chip operations to focus on its flash memory business, informed sources said.

The operations to be put up for sale include the division that handles system large-scale integrated circuits, which are used in a wide range of products including automobiles and home appliances.

Toshiba hopes to speed up its reconstruction from a major accounting scandal by concentrating on flash memory, which has been a cash cow for the struggling company.

A tender has already started for some of the chip operations it plans to sell, the sources said Saturday, adding that the buyer could be decided around the end of March.

The government-held Development Bank of Japan has shown strong interest, as have investment funds. But there is a chance negotiations will falter, leaving the units with Toshiba, according to the sources.

Toshiba plans to build a new flash memory plant with the U.S. chipmaker SanDisk Corp. on a site next to its existing plant in Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture. The cost, to be split between the firms, is seen exceeding ¥400 billion ($3.4 billion).

Toshiba has already announced plans to stop making white LEDs and CMOS image sensors, with the latter business to be sold to Sony Corp.