Tsinghua Unigroup denies it bid for Toshiba chip business, again

By By Sijia Jiang Features Reuters

The logo of Tsinghua Unigroup is seen at its office in Beijing, China, November 15, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo (Copyright Reuters 2017)

Tsinghua Unigroup Ltd, China's biggest state-owned semiconductor group, on Thursday said media reports that it bid for Toshiba Corp's chip business were groundless, reiterating a similar statement made in February.

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"Tsinghua Unigroup never participated in the bid and related matters," it said in a statement on its website.

Toshiba on Thursday received shareholder approval to split off its memory chip unit. It is looking to raise at least $9 billion from a sale to cover charges at its U.S. nuclear unit that threaten the Japanese conglomerate's future.

Around a dozen chipmakers and technology companies have been tipped as potential buyers for the unit, though a sale to a Chinese company or one with deep ties to China is widely expected to receive strong resistance from Japan's government.

China's ambition to develop a domestic chip champion through overseas acquisitions has hit regulatory hurdles from foreign governments. Tsinghua in 2015 tried to acquire U.S. chip group Micron Technology Inc, while a Chinese investment fund's attempt to buy German semiconductor equipment maker Aixtron SE was blocked in December.

Tsinghua this week announced it has clinched deals with a state bank and fund that will give it financing support of up to 150 billion yuan ($21.77 billion) over the next five years.

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(Reporting by Sijia Jiang; Editing by Christopher Cushing)