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Toshiba Corp now favours a group led by Bain Capital LP and SK Hynix Inc to buy its prized semiconductor business, as it failed to bridge key gaps with its business partner and rival bidder Western Digital Corp, two people briefed on the matter said on Tuesday.

The dramatic twist in the sale process, beset by legal wrangling and revised bids, comes just a day before Toshiba's latest deadline. The Japanese conglomerate, which needs to sell the chip business to plug a huge hole in its finances, had been trying to seal a deal by Wednesday with the Western Digital group but now hopes to reach agreement with the Bain group by next week, said the sources, who declined to be identified as the talks were private.

A Toshiba spokesman said the firm could not comment on details of the talks. The parties have already missed two deadlines by Toshiba's banks, which want a deal to pump $18 billion or more into the company to pull it out of negative shareholder equity and prevent it from being delisted. Yoshimitsu Kobayashi, an external Toshiba director, told reporters earlier on Tuesday that although the deadline is important, it is also important that negotiations head in a good direction. A Western Digital spokeswoman also declined to comment. The Japanese unit of Bain Capital and SK Hynix could not be reached for comment outside business hours.



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