By Joo Kyung-don
SEOUL, Jan. 28 (Yonhap) -- Samsung Electronics Co. on Thursday said it aims to clinch merger and acquisition (M&A) deals and expand investments in the upcoming years as the South Korean tech giant eyes to fend off challenges from its rivals amid global uncertainties
In its conference call, Samsung's chief finance officer Choi Yoon-ho said the company will actively use its cash to expand facility investments and pursue M&A deals in a bid to solidify its market-leading position and beef up its future growth.
"We have been very carefully reviewing our M&A options in the past 10 years continuously," he said. "Although it is difficult to specify when we would forge the deal due to global uncertainties, based on our preparations, we think positively significant M&A deals in the next three years."
Samsung's last major M&A deal came in 2016 when it acquired U.S.-based automotive giant Harman International Industries for US$8 billion.
Industry insiders expect Samsung's future M&A deals are likely to come from the semiconductor sector as global chip firms have recently bulked up their sizes by acquiring promising companies in the industry.
According to market researcher IC Insights, the value of M&A deals in the semiconductor industry last year reached a record high of $118 billion, surpassing the previous record of $107.7 billion in 2015.
Major deals in last year include Nvidia Corp.'s takeover of British processor-design firm ARM Holdings for $40 billion, and U.S. chip firm Advanced Micro Devices Inc.'s acquisition of programmable logic giant Xilinx Inc. for about $35 billion.
Samsung's domestic rival, SK hynix Inc., also agreed to buy Intel Corp.'s NAND business for $9 billion last year.
If going for M&A deals, Samsung, currently the world's No. 1 memory chip maker, is expected to acquire companies in the foundry or logic chip sector, industry observers said, following its massive investment pledge.
In 2019, Samsung unveiled a plan to become the world's No. 1 logic chip maker by 2030 by investing 133 trillion won to bolster its competitiveness in the system chip and foundry businesses.
In recent weeks, speculations have been swirling that Samsung may spend big for production facilities in the United States to catch up with foundry leader Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC).
According to a Bloomberg report, Samsung is considering building a $10 billion chip plant in Austin, Texas, with a capability to fabricate chips with 3-nanometer technology.
But in a conference call, Samsung said nothing has been confirmed about its chip factory project in the U.S., though it admitted that the company is always considering expanding its foundry capacity.
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