A group including private-equity firm Bain Capital and technology giant Apple signed a letter of intent to buy Toshiba's chip business for more than $18 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.
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An agreement with the group, which also includes Seagate Technology and Dell, could be announced later Wednesday in Japan, the people said. It is unclear who else may be in the group and its membership could still change.
The agreement would be the latest twist in a contentious sale process that is likely far from over.
Toshiba is seeking to unload the chip unit as part of a survival plan in the wake of huge losses at its U.S. nuclear unit Westinghouse Electric Co., which filed for bankruptcy earlier this year.
The Tokyo company has said its plan centers around selling the profitable semiconductor unit, which makes NAND flash-memory chips used for data storage in smartphones, computers and other electronics products.