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SK Group expresses hope of buying Toshiba's memory biz

All News 09:09 April 14, 2017

SEOUL, April 14 (Yonhap) -- SK Group's chief has shown a strong will to take over the memory division of Japanese tech giant Toshiba Corp., as the group's chipmaking unit, SK hynix Inc., joined the race for the acquisition.

"The bidding for Toshibia that is currently being processed is not binding. Accordingly, the price holds no significance," SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won said after a lecture Thursday at a local university.

The remark was a response to concerns that South Korea's No. 3 conglomerate's preliminary bidding price for Toshiba's business is below those suggested by rivals.

Japanese media reported that along with SK hynix, Taiwan-based Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., U.S. Western Digital and Silver Lake Partners were shortlisted as potential buyers of Toshiba's memory business.

Sources said Hon Hai, better known as Foxconn, suggested 3 trillion Japanese yen (US$27 billion), beating other rivals, including SK hynix.

Industry watchers said Chey's remark reflects SK hynix's willingness to focus efforts on the acquisition when the main bidding kicks off.

Toshiba is the world's second-largest maker of NAND flash memory chips, mainly used in smartphones and other mobile devices. The chip is used to store data even when devices' power goes off.

Toshiba plans to sell up to its entire stake in its memory operations as it struggles with losses from its nuclear power business in the United States. The Japanese firm initially only intended to sell around a 20 percent stake.

The deal is expected to fall in line with SK hynix's latest steps to bolster its NAND flash memory operations. If it wins the deal, the company will become the No. 2 player worldwide.

The preferred bidder will be selected around June.

SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won (Yonhap)

colin@yna.co.kr
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