Asia markets traded mixed on Thursday, with shares of Japanese electronics maker Toshiba tumbling nearly 16 percent after a report suggested it was considering the sale of its semiconductor business.
Toshiba shares slipped 15.98 percent at market close to 242.3 yen, after the Nikkei financial daily reported the company was considering spinning off its semiconductor business and selling a partial stake in the unit to U.S. data storage firm Western Digital. Toshiba later said in a statement the report from Nikkei was not "based on any announcements" by the company.
Elsewhere, Samsung Group shares pulled back slightly after initially jumping at the South Korean market open, after a court dismissed a warrant to arrest the head of the conglomerate, Jay Y. Lee, amid his alleged involvement in a corruption scandal that saw the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye.
Shares of Samsung Electronics closed up 1.5 percent; Samsung Electro-Mechanics finished down 0.8 percent, while Samsung C&T shares advanced 0.8 percent. Samsung SDI dropped 6.2 percent and Samsung Engineering shares fell 2.7 percent.
Despite the pullback in Samsung shares, the benchmark Kospi closed up 2.25 points, or 0.11 percent, at 2,072.79.
Reuters reported South Korea's special prosecutor's office said it had not decided whether to make another arrest warrant request for Samsung's Lee, after the previous request was rejected by the court.
In Japan, the Nikkei Stock Average climbed 177.88 points, or 0.94 percent, to 19,072.25, as export-oriented shares received a boost from a relatively weaker yen. The yen traded at 114.59 against the dollar at 2:36 p.m. HK/SIN, weakening from levels below 113.00 briefly touched in the previous session.
Takata shares were suspended from trading on Thursday according to the Japan Exchange Group, which operates the Tokyo Stock Exchange. It followed media reports from Nikkei financial daily that said two potential sponsors for Takata's rehabilitation plan were asking for court involvement in the process, a move that was supported by automakers that have shouldered the cost of recalling the company's faulty air bags.
In Australia, the ASX 200 advanced 13.43 points, or 0.24 percent, to 5,692.18. Shares of Bega Cheese led gains across the benchmark index, climbing 15.18 percent to A$5.16, after the company said Mondelez International would sell most of its grocery business in Australia and New Zealand, including the popular Vegemite food spread brand, to Bega Cheese for $344.68 million.
Chinese mainland shares retreated in the afternoon, with the Shanghai composite closing down 11.31 points, or 0.36 percent, at 3,101.70, and the Shenzhen composite slipping 7.13 points, or 0.38 percent, to 1,857.45. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index declined 0.33 percent in late-afternoon trading.