Toshiba Corp (T:6502) said on Wednesday it has agreed to focus on selling its prized chips unit to a group led by Bain Capital and South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix (KS:000660), although it is not ruling out a deal with other bidders.
The announcement came after sources told Reuters on Tuesday that Toshiba was now favoring the Bain group after failing to bridge disagreements with rival suitor Western DigitalCorp (O:WDC).
Wednesday marks the third time the embattled Japanese conglomerate has failed to meet a target date to sell the $18 billion business – the world’s second-biggest producer of NAND memory chips.
Without an agreement soon, it will be difficult for Toshiba to gain by the end of the financial year in March, regulatory approval and hence the funds it needs to cover billions in liabilities at it U.S. nuclear unit.
Toshiba said in a statement it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Bain to accelerate discussions, and hoped to reach agreement in late September. But it added that the memorandum was not legally binding and did not prevent it from negotiating with other parties.
By Makiko Yamazaki
Bitcoin “is a fraud” and will blow up, Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase & Co (N:JPM), said on Tuesday.
Speaking at a bank investor conference in New York, Dimon said, “The currency isn’t going to work. You can’t have a business where people can invent a currency out of thin air and think that people who are buying it are really smart.”
Dimon said that if any JPMorgan traders were trading the crypto-currency, “I would fire them in a second, for two reasons: It is against our rules and they are stupid, and both are dangerous.”
By David Henry and Anna Irrera
The jobless rate in the UK unexpectedly fell in July while wage inflation registered a weaker-than-expected increase, official data showed on Wednesday.
The Office for National Statistics said that the rate of unemployment unexpectedly dropped to 4.3% in July, from the previous month’s reading of 4.4%. That was its lowest level since 1975.
Analysts had expected no change to the jobless rate.
European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker called on EU governments on Wednesday to seize a window of opportunity from Brexit and economic growth to forge a tighter union built around the euro currency and a pivotal role in global trade.
In his annual State of the European Union speech, Juncker sketched out a vision of a post-2019 EU where some 30 countries would form a euro zone, with an EU finance minister running key budgets to help states in trouble.
Tax and welfare standards would converge and Europe, rather than the United States, would be the hub of a free-trading world.
The Commission president – effectively the EU’s chief executive – stressed his wish to heal divisions between eastern and western, poorer and richer member states; he sees that as vital to countering a drive, including by founding powers France and Germany, to set up new structures within the bloc that would exclude some ex-communist members.
By Alastair Macdonald