Micron and Western Digital in talks to buy Kioxia

Micron Technology and Western Digital are in talks to buy Kioxia Holdings, a semiconductor firm in Japan, in a possible deal for around $30 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.
Kioxia semiconductor
A deal for Kioxia, which is controlled by private-equity firm Bain Capital, isn’t guaranteed, and it isn’t clear how it might be structured, the report said.

Kioxia Holdings, the world’s second-largest maker of flash memory chips, had last year shelved plans for its initial public offering in 2020.

Previously known as Toshiba Memory, Kioxia had planned to list on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Oct. 6, offering up to 334.3 billion yen in shares.

Micron and Western Digital’s move comes at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic and disputes over trade and technology between Washington and Beijing have cast a shadow over the global chip industry and affected companies across the supply chain.

Kioxia was unable to regain the demand for its mobile NAND Flash products following the end of Huawei’s stock-up activities in Q4, TrendForce said in a note in March 2021.

Kioxia had also faced weak demand for enterprise SSDs. Kioxia’s bit shipments in 4Q20 still registered a small increase. Kioxia ASP experienced a QoQ decline of 8-10 percent because of the oversupply situation. Kioxia’s NAND Flash revenue slid by 11.4 percent QoQ to $2.749 billion in 4Q20.

Kioxia will expand the production capacity of K1. Kioxia is staying with its plan to begin building Fab 7 in Yokkaichi and K2 in Kitakami in 1Q21. These fabs, which will be producing BiCS6 or more technologically advanced products, are expected to start contributing to the supplier’s output in 2022.

Currently, the majority of Kioxia’s NAND Flash products are still manufactured with the 96L BiCS4 process. Going forward, the supplier intends to raise the shipment share of 112L BiCS5 products this year.