Western Digital Moves to Court in a Bid to Block Sale of Toshiba Chip Unit

HIGHLIGHTS
WD has sought a court injunction to stop Toshiba’s chip unit sale
The court injunction details that Toshiba needs to take WD’s consent
Toshiba wants to complete the deal as quickly as possible
Western Digital Corp has sought a court injunction to prevent Toshiba Corp from selling its chip business without the US firm’s consent – a move that threatens to throw the fiercely contested auction into disarray.

The escalation in the spat between Western Digital, which jointly operates Toshiba’s main chip plant, and its business partner follows tense last-minute jockeying by suitors for the world’s second-biggest producer of NAND semiconductors.

According to a person familiar with the matter, the California-based firm has been left out of a new Japan government-led group being formed to bid for the unit.

Toshiba’s “attempts to circumvent our contractual rights have left us with no choice but to take this action,” Western Digital’s Chief Executive Steve Milligan said in a statement.

ALSO SEEJapan Urges Toshiba, Western Digital to Get Along as Chip Spat Flares

“Left unchecked, Toshiba would pursue a course that clearly violates these rights,” he added.

Western Digital has filed its suit with the Superior Court of California, seeking an injunction until its arbitration case against Toshiba is heard. It is concerned about how Toshiba, the Japanese government and other stakeholders are handling the auction process, a second source said.

The second source added it had submitted a revised bid on Wednesday that satisfies Toshiba’s requests on deal certainty and price but did not receive a favourable response. Toshiba has demanded at least JPY 2 trillion ($18 billion) for the unit.

Sources declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the negotiations concerning the auction.

Toshiba said in a statement that it was proceeding with selecting a preferred bidder for its memory unit by the second half of June as planned and hoped to reach a definitive agreement on a sale by June 28.

Western Digital Moves to Court in a Bid to Block Sale of Toshiba Chip Unit

Toshiba wants to complete the deal as quickly as possible to help cover billions of dollars in cost overruns at its now-bankrupt Westinghouse nuclear unit and to dig itself out negative shareholders’ equity that could lead to a delisting.

Satoru Oyama, senior principal analyst at research firm IHS, said Western Digital’s argument made sense from a common-sense point of view and that developments were moving towards a worst-case scenario for the Japanese company.

“Toshiba has more to lose in the dispute because it is running out of time,” he said. “Toshiba and Western Digital eventually have to talk. They cannot afford to keep fighting when Samsung is taking advantage of the NAND market boom and investing massively.”

A third source familiar with the matter said Western Digital expects to get a ruling on its injunction request by mid-July and that arbitration cases generally take 16-24 months to resolve.

A state-backed fund, the Innovation Network Corp of Japan (INCJ), has been at the centre of trade ministry efforts to forge a successful bid that will keep the highly prized unit under domestic control. But the nature of its partnerships appears to be going through drastic changes compared to just last week.

It has been in talks with Bain Capital and the group now includes South Korea’s SK Hynix Inc, sources have said.

INCJ was, however, also part of a proposed bid tabled by Western Digital last week that also included US private equity firm KKR & Co LP, other sources familiar with the matter have said.

Other bidders include Foxconn, the world’s largest contract electronics maker. Foxconn, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry, is leading a consortium that includes Apple Inc computing giant Dell Inc and Kingston Technology Co.

The highest known bid so far is one from US chipmaker Broadcom and its partner, US private equity firm Silver Lake. They have offered JPY 2.2 trillion, sources have said.

The luxurious lifestyle of the cladding firm couple: Boss who sold materials which covered deadly tower block lives with his secretary wife in a £1 million mansion

Her husband, who entered the curtain-walling business straight from university, has boasted of 25 years of ‘practical experience’ on Harley Facades’s website.

Mr and Mrs Bailey were director and secretary of Harley Curtain Wall, which went bust in 2015, owing creditors £1million, according to reports.

A customer demanded £428,000 for disputed work and the company owed £1.18million in total. But it was later bought for £24,900 by Harley Facades Ltd, Mr Bailey’s other firm, which according to its latest accounts has £151,000 in the bank and made £299,000 profit last year.

Rydon's CEO Robert Bond (pictured with his wife at a classic car event) said last night the work 'met all required building regulations' and was signed off by the council's building control

Rydon's CEO Robert Bond dressed as a clown

Rydon’s CEO Robert Bond (pictured with his wife at a classic car event, and right as a clown on Facebook) said last night the work ‘met all required building regulations’ and was signed off by the council’s building control

The Rydon CEO has an Aston Martin with a private 'Bond' number plate pictured here next to the family's silver Porsche

The Rydon CEO has an Aston Martin with a private ‘Bond’ number plate pictured here next to the family’s silver Porsche

The 27-storey Grenfell building, which was built in 1974 but refurbished last year, has an average of six flats per floor was reclad in a £10m refurbishment completed last year

The 27-storey Grenfell building, which was built in 1974 but refurbished last year, has an average of six flats per floor was reclad in a £10m refurbishment completed last year

Belinda Bailey, pictured on a ski trip, has served as secretary for her husband's cladding company

Belinda Bailey, pictured on a ski trip, has served as secretary for her husband’s cladding company

Their mansion has three buildings with a large, covered swimming pool attached to the main house. Four cars including a Land Rover and a Porsche were parked outside

Their mansion has three buildings with a large, covered swimming pool attached to the main house. Four cars including a Land Rover and a Porsche were parked outside

Harley Facades congratulated themselves on the work they had done at Grenfell on their Facebook page

Harley Facades congratulated themselves on the work they had done at Grenfell on their Facebook page

This aerial photo taken hours after the fire ripped through the tower block shows the devastating scale of the inferno

This aerial photo taken hours after the fire ripped through the tower block shows the devastating scale of the inferno

Burning debris falls from a massive fire that raged in a high-rise apartment building in London and killed at least 17

Burning debris falls from a massive fire that raged in a high-rise apartment building in London and killed at least 17

The company, which installed but did not manufacture the panels at Grenfell Tower, said in a statement they were a ‘commonly used product in the refurbishment industry’.

Mr Bailey, 58, said on Wednesday night: ‘This is an incredibly tragic incident. Our thoughts are with the residents and their families who have suffered such a personal loss. We will fully support and co-operate with the investigations into this fire.

‘At this time, we are not aware of any link between the fire and the exterior cladding to the tower.’ He was unavailable for further comment yesterday, apparently holed up in his country retreat.

His mansion has three buildings with a large, covered swimming pool attached to the main house. The village of Crowborough is also home to a string of celebrities.

Mr Bailey enjoys skiing and motorsports. He has three sons, twins aged 27 and a 23-year-old.

Away from work, Mrs Bailey appears to own a number of cats and belongs to a breeder’s group on Facebook. Photographs from her profile show her enjoying holidays by the sea and in the Alps. Grenfell Tower was clad last year as part of an £8.6million refurbishment by builders Rydon, whose boss has insisted its work ‘met all required building controls’.

The charred debris likely from Grenfell's cladding lies on grass below the tower  

The charred debris likely from Grenfell’s cladding lies on grass below the tower

A children's play area is filled with debris directly under Grenfell Tower on the Lancaster West Estate 

A children’s play area is filled with debris directly under Grenfell Tower on the Lancaster West Estate

Cladding is a material attached to a building's frame to create an outer wall (shown in this graphic). The process of applying the rain-proof frontage can create a 25mm-30mm cavity between the cladding and the insulation behind it, shown between the first two layers

Cladding is a material attached to a building’s frame to create an outer wall (shown in this graphic). The process of applying the rain-proof frontage can create a 25mm-30mm cavity between the cladding and the insulation behind it, shown between the first two layers

Councils turned to cladding to meet standards set by Blair government scheme

Cladding became popular as councils sought to meet insulation standards laid out under the Blair Government’s £22billion Decent Homes Programme, which ran from 2000 to 2010.

The programme’s rules dictated that homes should have efficient heating and effective insulation, modern facilities and be in a good state of repair.

For high-rise council blocks, local authorities were faced with either knocking them down, meaning they would have to find or build homes elsewhere, or refurbishing them.

The latter option was much cheaper, despite the millions of pounds then pumped into the scheme.

In London alone, it is believed more than £820million in public funds were paid to contractors to make alterations.

Local authorities turned to cladding the outside of old council house stock, including tower blocks, in a bid to improve the buildings’ appearance and the improve so-called ‘thermal efficiency’ ratings.

A press release by a cladding firm from the time stated: ‘Over-cladding existing homes to improve their energy efficiency as well as aesthetics is proving the solution of choice for local authorities in their bid to meet Decent Homes standards.’

The statement gave examples in Bristol and Lanarkshire where cladding had been used to meet the terms of the programme.

A architect was quoted at the time saying: ‘The main priorities were to eliminate water ingress, improve the thermal efficiency of the blocks, and enhance the physical appearance of the external envelope.’

Rydon boss Robert Bond lives in the circled £2million mansion with swimming pool on a private estate in Orpington, Kent

Rydon boss Robert Bond lives in the circled £2million mansion with swimming pool on a private estate in Orpington, Kent

The construction boss and his wife Tina (pictured) appear to enjoy sailing and exotic holidays around the world

The construction boss and his wife Tina (pictured) appear to enjoy sailing and exotic holidays around the world

Grenfell Tower before the refurbishment

Grenfell Tower after the refurbishment with the cladding

Grenfell Tower before the refurbishment (left) in 2011 and with the new cladding (right)

Chief executive Robert Bond said the work was signed off by the council’s building control officials.

Mr Bond, who has four daughters in their 20s, lives in a £2million mansion on a private estate in Orpington, Kent.

He is believed to own an Aston Martin with a ‘Bond’ number plate. A silver convertible Porsche was parked outside his home yesterday.

His wife Tina answered the door of the property when asked for comment and if her husband was home. She said, ‘Thank you and goodbye’, before closing the door.

The married couple appear to share a love for classic sports cars and have posed together in front of a silver Ferrari.

Mrs Bond’s Facebook account shows the family enjoy a luxury lifestyle, including holidaying on a yacht. One photograph showed her and her daughters posing in bikinis in crystal-clear waters on an exotic holiday to a destination apparently in south-east Asia.

Left, the fire ages through several floors of the Grenfell Tower, centre, the inferno rips through the building towards the top floors and right, firefighters attempt to battle the flames on Wednesday morning

Cladding company has covered six other blocks in panels ‘that went up like a matchstick’ in London ALONE

Fears are growing for hundreds of families living in tower blocks after it was revealed the firm which supplied the panels at the centre of the west London inferno has also carried out similar work across the capital.

Grenfell Tower was equipped with overcladding by East Sussex-based company Harley Facades Limited in a contract valued at £2.6 million.

It has since come to light that the firm has used a similar aluminium composite material (ACM) to clad several high rises and public buildings throughout the UK, raising fears for the safety of thousands of other residents.

Ferrier Point (pictured), a 23-storey block with 115 flats in Newham, east London, was clad in an aluminium composite material in 2015

Four 23-storey tower blocks in Camden, north London were refurbished with the cladding at a cost of £16million

Ferrier Point  left), a 23-storey block with 115 flats in Newham, east London, was clad in an aluminium composite material in 2015. Four 23-storey tower blocks in Camden, north London (pictured right) were refurbished with the cladding at a cost of £16million

Castlemaine Tower, a 23-storey block in Battersea, south London, was clad and refurbished by the firm in 2014

Clements Court in Hounslow, west London

Castlemaine Tower (pictured left), a 23-storey block in Battersea, south London, was clad and refurbished by the firm in 2014, as was Clements Court (right) in Hounslow, west London

Four 23-storey tower blocks in Camden, north London were refurbished with the cladding at a cost of £16million, as was Ferrier Point, a 23-storey block with 115 flats in Newham, east London, in 2015.

Six tower blocks in Harrow, northwest London, were given the rainproof cladding when it was refurbished in 2015 in a contract worth £3.5million, as was the 13-storey Merit House, home to 114 flats in Barnet, north London.

Castlemaine Tower, a 23-storey block in Battersea, south London, was clad and refurbished by the firm in 2014, as was Clements Court in Hounslow, west London.

The material is set to be at the centre of an investigation into fire safety after witnesses claimed it ‘went up like a matchstick’, helping spreading the fire from the fourth floor to the roof in just 15 minutes.

Six tower blocks in Harrow, northwest London, were given the rainproof cladding when it was refurbished in 2015 in a contract worth £3.5million

The 13-storey Merit House, home to 114 flats in Barnet, north London

Six tower blocks in Harrow, northwest London (left), were given the rainproof cladding when it was refurbished in 2015 in a contract worth £3.5million, as was the 13-storey Merit House (shown right), home to 114 flats in Barnet, north London

Pictured: The new plastic cladding hangs charred and melted underneath the windows of the Grenfell tower in west London

Pictured: The new plastic cladding hangs charred and melted underneath the windows of the Grenfell tower in west London

The £8.6million refurbishment by Rydon and the cladding by Harley Facades will be key issues at the public inquiry into the blaze. Westminster City Council said Harley Facades also supplied cladding for its Little Venice Estate.

But a spokesman said: ‘There is no reason to believe the type of cladding is the same as that used at Grenfell Tower.

‘Having today reviewed all records we are reassured that the cladding fully complies with all fire and safety requirements and underwent stringent checks before being certified by Building Control. However, as a precaution, we have instructed independent specialists to carry out urgent checks.’

‘We do listen’ says boss of company which manages Grenfell Tower

Maintenance firm responsible for Grenfell paid £11M by taxpayer

The company responsible for the safety and maintenance of the block of flats which turned into a raging inferno and killed at least 17 people was paid £11million last year from taxpayer’s money.

Grenfell Tower is owned by the borough council in Kensington and Chelsea, but the management of the building is the responsibility of an independent company – Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO).

Speaking to Nina Hossain on ITV News London the company’s boss Robert Black said: ‘We are in complete shock and condolences for what’s happened today. Our thoughtS are with everybody that is currently affected and still affected.’

Robert Black (left) who is Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation’s Chief Executive and in charge of the management of Grenfell Tower and Andrew Goldman from Rydon Construction who appeared on TV this morning admitting he did not know the exact details of the materials used in the revamp of the block of flars

The doomed block of flats underwent a £10million refurbishment which were completed in May last year which was overseen by Rydon Construction.

After a day of finger-pointing and revelations residents had spent years lobbying over safety concerns, a massive investigation has been launched and experts are predicting it could lead to a prosecution.

Those in the firing line are the council, who own the property and send people to live there, KCTMO who are responsible for maintaining Grefnell Tower and Rydon who installed cladding as part of their refurbishment.

The Health and Safety Executive, the police and the fire service are now expected to launch a large-scale investigation and Rachel Adamson, Head of Regulatory Law at Stephensons law firm, said for an incident of this size it is very likely they will be considering criminal charges.

Residents say they told former KCMOT worker Siobhan Rumble (right) of their safety concerns, but claim their warnings were overlooked in the building that is owned by Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council, whose Chief Executive is pictured left

She told MailOnline: ‘Corporate manslaughter charges are often quite difficult to prove as they relate to the controlling mind of the business.

‘If an individual is thought to have been negligent, a charge of manslaughter by gross negligence may be considered.

‘There are a range of other potential charges, such as breach of fire regulations or breach of health and safety regulations, these are the tiers down from manslaughter.’

Investigators are expected to look at how recent renovation work was carried out, whether Construction Regulations have been adhered to, and what fire safety precautions were in place.

More than one resident has claimed that there was no central fire alarm system for the tower block – or it had failed – and only smoke alarms in individual flats were working.

There are also claims that there that there was no central sprinkler system – or it was also not working properly during the fire.

Others have claimed that the new cladding encasing the block added during last year’s £10million refurbishment by Rydon Construction caught alight ‘like a matchstick’.

Checks are to be carried out on tower blocks going through similar refurbishment to Grenfell Tower, policing and fire minister Nick Hurd has said.