The sale of the memory business unit of Toshiba, the world's second largest NAND flash maker, eventually passed its deadline. Some analysts say that the sale was aborted as China's anti-trust authorities did not approve the sale and they did it on purpose as China declared its promotion of the Chinese semiconductor industry.
On April 1, industry sources said that Chinese antitrust authorities did not approve a plan to sell Toshiba memory to a Korea-US-Japan alliance led by US private equity fund Bain Capital until March 30. As a result, the multinational alliance could not implement its plan to finish the purchase of Toshiba’s memory business unit by the end of March.
The Korea-US-Japan alliance includes SK Hynix of Korea and Bain Capital. To acquire Toshiba Memory finally, it is necessary to pass an antitrust examination by each country. The plan was approved by Korea, Japan, the EU, Brazil, the Philippines and Taiwan but failed to receive approval from China.
Inside the semiconductor industry, many experts say that China wanted to impede the plan. They say that China is concerned that if Toshiba’s NAND flash source technology is transferred to the Korea-US-Japan alliance, it may have a negative impact on the growth of the semiconductor industry of China. China has decided to elevate its semiconductor self-sufficiency rate to 70 percent by the year 2025 from less than 15 percent now.
In the semiconductor industry, it is a dominant view that even though the Chinese government is dragging its feet on approving the sale of the unit, demanding Toshiba’s technical cooperation, the Chinese government will okay the sale before long. Toshiba and the Korea-US-Japan alliance reportedly set May 1 as the second deadline. To meet this second deadline, China has to approve the deal by April 13.