Western Digital Sees Court Decision on Toshiba Unit Early 2018

(Bloomberg) -- Western Digital Corp. expects an international court to decide early next year whether to block the $18 billion acquisition of Toshiba Corp.’s memory chip unit by a group led by Bain Capital.

Western Digital, which has a series of memory chip joint ventures with the Toshiba division, will file its motion once the International Court of Arbitration sets a hearing schedule, Chief Executive Officer Steve Milligan said in a conference call with analysts.

The company’s “consent rights are clear and explicit, and we therefore feel confident in our request for injunctive relief,” Milligan said. “We are not litigious and it should only be a last resort, especially in the context of this joint venture relationship.”

Since the group sealed a deal to buy the division in September, Western Digital has been seeking to block the sale in U.S. courts. The San Jose, California-based company gets chips from Japanese factories that it helped equip through the SanDisk business it acquired last year. It needs the supply to help it make products that are replacing its magnetic storage-based hard disk drives in the computer industry.

“There are two potential paths for resolution: the stakeholders will either engage in constructive dialogue in the near future, or this matter will be resolved through the objective arbitration process,” Milligan said.

Talks to invest in a joint production facility are stalling over a demand from Toshiba that WDC drop any right to object to a takeover, he added.

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