Published in Memory

Toshiba confirms it is selling off memory chips

by on30 January 2017

Flash in the pan

After a couple of months of rumours and speculation, troubled nuclear powered, electronics maker Toshiba has given up on its flash memory chip business and will flog most of it.

The company has confirmed that it is selling its flash memory business, including its SSD business of the Storage & Electronic Device Solutions Division. Officially it is not saying who it will be the buyer but it is likely to be Western Digital. Tosh said it has not got an agreement with Western Digital yet.

It is the end of an era for Tosh, which invented NAND flash in the early 1980s. Nikkei's Asian Review said Toshiba had been considering spinning off its semiconductor operations and selling a partial stake to Western Digital (WD), "as it tries to cope with a massive impairment loss in its US nuclear power unit".

Toshiba said it is giving "full and careful" consideration regarding the assets to be transferred in the company split, to "not interfere with the operation of the memory business" after the transaction is complete.

The move to spin off its memory business is designed to help it grow through investments a partner could make, the company told investors.

Toshiba and WD already co-operate memory fabrication plants, such as the Fab 2 plant located in Yokkaichi, Japan.

The Nikkei Asian Review expects Toshiba to sell 20 percent stake in the memory business for between $1.77 billion and $2.65 billion, "while retaining a majority stake and keeping the new company in group earnings."
Others expect further sell offs are likely in the future.

Toshiba plans to hold a special shareholders meeting to vote on the intended split in March and if all goes well, the company plans to finalize the deal on March 31.

Toshiba and WD together represent 35 percent of global NAND flash production. The leading supplier of NAND flash, Samsung, has a slightly larger share of 36 percent, while Micron-Intel has 17 percent.

Last modified on 30 January 2017
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