According to Kyodo News, Japanese chip manufacturer Kioxia and its U.S. counterpart Western Digital are reportedly on the verge of finalizing a merger agreement, aiming to create the world's largest producer of memory chips. The merger plan involves establishing a holding company to consolidate their operations for producing NAND flash memory chips, with the announcement reportedly coming this month. The merged entity is expected to be listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange in the United States. As the global semiconductor market contends with competitive pressures and fluctuating demand, the merger is seen as a strategic move to enhance the combined market position of both companies.
Western Digital shareholders are anticipated to hold a majority stake in the new entity, with Kioxia's shareholders, including Toshiba Corporation, owning the remaining stake. The move is poised to give the newly formed company a combined market share of 35.4 percent in NAND memory chips as of March, surpassing South Korea's Samsung, the current leader, with 34.3 percent. However, the merger's ultimate approval hinges on regulators' decisions, including those in China, as semiconductors have become increasingly integral to global economic security. Major Japanese banks, including MUFG Bank and the state-backed Development Bank of Japan, are contemplating loans of up to approximately 1.9 trillion yen (about $12.7 billion) to facilitate the merger.