Western Digital is a partner of Kioxia on the production of NAND flash memory and the move would create a rival to market leader Samsung in a consolidating sector of the semiconductor industry.
Samsung has about 34 percent of the NAND flash memory market; Kioxia 18 percent and Western Digital 14.7 percent, according to 1H21 figures from market analyst TrendForce. The acquisition would result in two clear and equal market leaders with SK-Hynix is a long way behind on 12.3 percent, although it is in the process of acquiring the NAND flash business of Intel (see Intel sells NAND memory business to SK Hynix ).
Kioxia was formed by a private equity buy out of the Toshiba Memory business, which was put together to try and save Toshiba Corp. following an accounting scandal in 2015 and the bankruptcy of subsidiary energy company Westinghouse in 2017.
The possibility of a pay day for the private equity firms that formed Kioxia surfaced earlier in 2021 with Western Digital and Micron as potential buyers (see Report: Micron, Western Digital mull buying Kioxia ).
Any deal would be subject to anti-trust considerations in Japan, the US and China. China effectively blocked Qualcomm's proposed $44 billion purchase of NXP Semiconductors NV in 2018 but has just passed Analog Devices $20 billion acquisition of Maxim Incorporated Products.
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