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U.S. judge slaps two-week pause on Toshiba-Western Digital feud

AFP-JIJI

A California judge put on hold Friday a request by Western Digital to block the sale of Toshiba’s prized chip unit, suggesting a more collaborative order.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Harold Kahn gave Toshiba and Western Digital until a July 28 hearing to draft an order requiring the Japanese conglomerate to give its Silicon Valley partner two weeks’ notice before closing the sale of the unit, Toshiba Memory Corp. In the meantime, the court ordered Toshiba to not complete the sale.

Toshiba lawyers have contended in court documents that any sale of the chip division was not expected to close until early next year, at the earliest.

The hearing was held to consider a request by Western Digital for an injunction stopping Toshiba from selling interests in three NAND flash-memory joint ventures operated with Western Digital’s SanDisk subsidiaries.

“Our entire goal was to preserve and protect our rights through the binding arbitration process, and that’s precisely what the court has done today,” Western Digital CEO Steve Milligan said in a released statement proclaiming the outcome of the hearing a victory.

Toshiba was free to continue negotiations for the sale as the matter made its way to likely arbitration in an international forum.

Kahn proposed a “finessed” alternative to the injunction sought by SanDisk that preserves legal options of both sides without stalling sales discussions, according to Toshiba.