SEOUL, April 9 (Yonhap) — SK hynix Inc., South Korea’s No. 2 chipmaker, has no plan to retrieve its investment in Japanese semiconductor firm Kioxia Holdings Corp., its CEO said Friday, amid growing speculation over consolidation in the NAND industry.
In 2017, SK hynix joined a global consortium to invest in Kioxia, then known as Toshiba Memory Corp., and injected about 4 trillion won (US$3.5 billion). The consortium, led by U.S. private equity firm Bain Capital, owns about half of Kioxia’s stake.
Rumors of SK hynix’s potential profit-taking have grown following news reports that U.S. chipmakers Micron Technology Inc. and Western Digital Corp. are both seeking to acquire Kioxia to increase their presence in the NAND memory sector.
“There are no changes to our investment plan regarding Kioxia, and we are not thinking of retrieving the money,” SK hynix CEO Lee Seok-hee told reporters following chip business leaders’ meeting with the country’s industry minister in Seoul.
According to market researcher TrendForce, Kioxia was the world’s second-largest NAND vendor behind Samsung Electronics Co. in the fourth quarter of 2020. Western Digital was the No. 3 player followed by SK hynix and Micron.
There also has been speculation that SK hynix may sell its stake in Kioxia to fund its acquisition of Intel Corp.’s NAND unit. Last October, SK hynix signed a deal to buy Intel’s non-memory unit for $9 billion.
Asked about media reports of SK hynix negotiating with German auto parts giant Robert Bosch GmbH over a long-term supply of automotive memory chips, Lee said nothing has been determined at this point.
Lee also said that his company has yet to receive an invitation from the White House for next week’s meeting where U.S. security and economic officials are to discuss the global chip shortage with auto and semiconductor companies.
Samsung, General Motors, GlobalFoundries and Intel are reportedly the companies that were invited to the meeting, according to foreign news reports.