SEOUL, March 12 (Yonhap) — SK hynix Inc., South Korea’s second-largest chipmaker, said Friday it has received an approval from a U.S. foreign investment watchdog regarding its acquisition of Intel Corp.’s NAND business.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) granted SK hynix’s acquisition deal approval after review, according to SK hynix, adding that the company welcomes the U.S. authorities’ decision.

Last October, SK hynix signed a deal to buy Intel’s non-volatile memory unit for US$9 billion, which includes the U.S. firm’s solid state drive business and a NAND flash chip plant in Dalian, China. Following the deal, the South Korean chipmaker had to obtain approvals from antitrust regulators in major countries.

This file photo taken Oct. 20, 2020, shows the corporate logo of SK hynix Inc. at the chipmaker’s plant in Icheon, 80 km southeast of Seoul. (Yonhap)

 In the U.S., the company’s acquisition had to be reviewed by the CFIUS and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). SK hynix passed the FTC’s review last year.

After its acquisition gets required governmental approval, which is expected to be completed by late this year, SK hynix will give the first payment of $7 billion to Intel. It will pay the remaining $2 billon to the U.S. tech titan by March 2025.

SK hynix was the world’s fourth-largest NAND flash producer with a market share of 11.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to industry tracker TrendForce. The acquisition of Intel’s NAND business is projected to make SK hynix the world’s second-largest NAND flash vendor behind Samsung Electronics Co.