Photo/IllutrationToshiba Corp.’s head office building in Tokyo (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Struggling Toshiba Corp. has changed tack on the planned sale of its memory chip unit after negotiations with Western Digital Corp. of the United States became deadlocked, sources said.

The company's board of directors on Sept. 13 gave the go-ahead to begin full-fledged negotiations with a rival suitor led by U.S. investment fund Bain Capital, the sources said.

Toshiba aims to clinch a deal by late this month, they added.

Toshiba is trying to offload its lucrative semiconductor subsidiary, Toshiba Memory, to cover huge losses stemming from its nuclear business.

The electronics giant had been negotiating with the Western Digital group. However, the talks reached an impasse over the level of Western Digital's involvement in the management of the subsidiary.

The Bain-led group, which also includes South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix Inc., submitted a new proposal to Toshiba that includes financial support from Apple Inc. of the United States.

Although Toshiba regards the Bain-led group as the frontrunner, it will also continue to hold negotiations with the Western Digital group, which includes U.S. investment fund KKR & Co., and Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co.

By continuing negotiations with other bidders, Toshiba hopes it may wring more concessions from Western Digital.

Two Japanese government-backed funds, Innovation Network Corp. of Japan and Development Bank of Japan Inc., will join the winning bidder, unless Hon Hai is chosen to acquire the chip unit.