SK Group chairman Chey Tae-Won expressed his strong will to take over Toshiba on April 13. At present, approximately 10 companies are trying to do so and the most promising candidates include SK Hynix, Hon Hai Precision Industry, Western Digital and the consortium of Broadcom and Silver Lake Partners.
Apple is considering an investment of billions of dollars or a joint investment with Hon Hai Precision Industry in order to acquire 20% of its shares scheduled to be sold, too. Western Digital, a joint venture partner in the semiconductor business of Toshiba, recently requested exclusive negotiations rights, claiming that the sale of the semiconductor business to a third party constitutes a breach of contract.
In the meantime, SK Hynix is striving to acquire the shares so that it can increase its presence in the NAND flash market. As of the end of last year, SK Hynix recorded a share of 26.3% in the global DRAM market to be second only to Samsung Electronics, which enjoyed a market share of 46.3%. SK Hynix posted a share of 10% and ranked fifth in the NAND flash market though.
The SK Group chairman is currently working on business reorganization led by the expansion of its semiconductor business. Five years ago, he attempted to acquire Elpida but had to give up on it due to opposition from board members. Elpida ended up in the hands of Micron Technology.
NAND flash chips are characterized by being capable of keeping stored data even when power is cut. The global demand for NAND flash chips is soaring these days in line with the fourth industrial revolution. Toshiba has a number of patent rights and original technologies related to NAND flash chips. The second bidding process and preferred bidder selection are scheduled for May and June this year, respectively.