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Toshiba Demise Could Help NAND Chip Competitors Close Gap With Samsung

Toshiba Demise Could Help NAND Chip Competitors Close Gap With Samsung

Toshiba Corp. (OTC: TOSYY) (OTC: TOSBF), teetering on the brink of death after an ill-fated foray into nuclear power, has no shortage of suitors for its lucrative flash memory chip unit, the second-biggest seller of the tech used in cellphones and many other electronics.

The auction, which one analyst said involved four competitors, could get ugly.

4 Players

Reuters reported Wednesday that California-based Western Digital Corp (NASDAQ: WDC) was seeking to crash the auction, charging that Toshiba is violating a joint venture between the two, who together operate a plant in Japan.

Western Digital urged that it should be given exclusive negotiating rights.

Industry leader Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (OTC: SSNLF), U.S. chipmaker Broadcom Ltd (NASDAQ: AVGO), Taiwan's Foxconn (OTC: FXCOF) and South Korea’s SK Hynix Inc (OTC: HXSCF) are among the reported suitors who have made offers.

The Benefits Of Competition

All the major NAND chip makers stand to benefit from the competition even if they aren’t involved in Toshiba’s chip business, including Micron Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ: MU) and Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC), which is ramping up production at a new plant in China, said analyst Thomas Diffely at DA Davidson & Co. in Lake Oswego, Oregon.

“If it goes under it’s a huge benefit to Micron, Hynix, Samsung and soon-to-be Intel,” he said.

Analyst Commentary

“I think in general that that market is very strong, but at the end of the day (the chip) is a commodity,” he added. “Once you take one supplier out of a tight supply, it is good for the makers and bad for the guys who buy them.”

He said if Hynix succeeds in buying Toshiba’s chip business, it would vault into second place, behind Samsung.

Toshiba is ailing because of the bankruptcy filing by its U.S. nuclear unit. Westinghouse Electric Co. It needs to sell all or part of its most lucrative asset to cover the writedown.

Toshiba reported in Tokyo on Tuesday that “there are material events and conditions that raise the substantial doubt about the company's ability to continue as a going concern.”

Related Links:

Rumored Western Digital-Toshiba Deal Could Be Accretive To Earnings

March PC Shipments Exceed Forecasts, Bode Well For Advanced Micro Devices And Intel
Image Credit: By The Conmunity - Pop Culture Geek from Los Angeles, CA, USA - CES 2012 - Toshiba, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons


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