* Deal too large for INCJ to bid alone -chairman
* Did not participate in first round, not doing due
(Adds comments from head of the fund)
By Taiga Uranaka
TOKYO, April 18 The state-backed fund Innovation
Network Corp of Japan is looking at the auction of Toshiba
Corp's chip unit but did not participate in first-round
bidding, INCJ Chairman Toshiyuki Shiga said on Tuesday.
Sources familiar with the matter have told Reuters INCJ may
invest in the business as a minority partner - a move that would
help the government prevent a sale to bidders it deems risky to
"Given the size of the deal, I cannot say we won't have
anything to do with it," Shiga told reporters, adding that INCJ
has set up a team to look at publicly available information
regarding the deal.
Shiga said, however, that INCJ is not conducting due
diligence and that it would be unable to bid by itself.
The auction of Toshiba's prized chips asset is essential to
the company's plans to cover multi-billion dollar writedowns at
its U.S. nuclear unit Westinghouse.
Toshiba has narrowed the field of bidders for its chip unit
to four suitors, sources have said: U.S. chipmaker Broadcom Ltd
, which has partnered with private equity firm Silver
Lake Partners LP; SK Hynix; Western Digital;
and Foxconn, the world's largest contract electronics
Broadcom Ltd has put in the highest first-round offer of 2.5
trillion yen ($23 billion) while Taiwan's Foxconn, the world's
largest electronics contract manufacturer, offered 2 trillion
yen, one person familiar with the matter has said.
INCJ was established in 2009 to promote new and innovative
technologies, with a limited fund life of 15 years. About two
dozen private-sector companies including Toyota Motor Corp
and Sony Corp are also minority participants
in the fund.
Its past investments include Japan Display Inc.
(Reporting by Taiga Uranaka, Additional writing by Thomas
Wilson; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)