SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won on Thursday indicated SK Hynix would go bolder in the bid for the semiconductor division of Japan’s Toshiba Corp., a deal that would change the global landscape in the flash memory industry.
“The current stage is non-binding so the pricing does not matter,” Chey told reporters after a lecture at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) campus in Dongdaemun, central Seoul. “We won’t be the same once the real binding bidding process kicks off.”
Toshiba is expected to receive final bids in May before selecting a preferred bidder in June.
Chey’s comments were made in response to skepticism over the world’s second largest dynamic random access memory (DRAM) maker’s bid over Toshiba’s chip-making division primarily focused in the non-volatile storage (NAND) amid reports of its price offering to be lower than others. SK Hynix reportedly had proposed to acquire 50 percent plus management right in Toshiba’s semiconductor division for around $9 billion. Toshiba is offering from 50 percent to 100 percent in the lucrative flash memory whose prospects are bright due to explosive demand for the chip to power mobile devices. SK Hynix is relatively weak in the NAND field, commanding 5th rank.
According to Japan’s Mainichi Shimbun, potential buyers of world’s second largest flash memory maker have been narrowed down to four bidders - SK Hynix, Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., the United States’ Western Digital Corp., and private equity firm Silver Laker Partners. Hon Hai Precision Industry, also known as Foxconn Technology Group, is unrivalled in the bidding war by offering as much as 3 trillion yen ($27.6 billion).
Chey’s latest remarks suggest the conglomerate will go more aggressive in the final bid.
SK Hynix has joined up with Japan’s financial investors to participate in the preliminary tender that closed on March 29.
In 2012, SK Hynix attempted to take over Japan’s troubled semiconductor maker Elpida Memory Inc. but pulled out later. Elpida is now owned by U.S.-based Micron Technology Inc.
By Chung Wook
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