[News] Kioxia and Western Digital Resume Merger Negotiations? Rumors of Bain Negotiating with SK Hynix Surface

2024-01-29 Semiconductors editor

NAND flash memory giants Kioxia and Western Digital (WD) were reported to be in negotiations with intentions to merge. However, the merger talks between Kioxia and WD were halted in October last year due to opposition from SK Hynix, the South Korean memory giant indirectly invested in Kioxia.

As per a report from Japanese media 47news, Kioxia has been making adjustments behind the scenes and is interested in restarting merger negotiations with WD. Kioxia’s major shareholder, Bain Capital, is reportedly in negotiations with SK Hynix.

It is reported that Kioxia is also exploring the possibility of cooperation with SK Hynix, but this may pose risks of violating anti-monopoly laws. If Kioxia and WD ultimately fail to merge, going public independently is also an option for Kioxia.

According to the report citing sources, SK Hynix is concerned that a merger between Kioxia and WD would weaken its influence over Kioxia. Therefore, SK Hynix is interested in participating in the integration to safeguard its influence.

On the other hand, WD has announced on October 30 last year that its board had approved a spin-off plan to separate its NAND flash memory division and establish a new company for independent listing, with operations expected to commence in the second half of 2024.

As per TrendForce’s  data for 3Q23, Samsung maintained its position as the top global NAND flash memory manufacturer, commanding a significant market share of 31.4%. Following closely, SK Group secured the second position with a 20.2% market share. Western Digital occupied the third position with a market share of 16.9%, while Japan’s Kioxia held a 14.5% market share.

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(Photo credit: Kioxia)

Please note that this article cites information from 47news and Kioxia.