Western Digital Finalizing Plans to Merge With Kioxia: Report

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Western Digital is on the brink of consolidating its NAND memory business with Kioxia, creating the world's largest maker of non-volatile memory, according to Nikkei. The plans, which involve spinning off Western Digital's flash business unit, are about to be finalized, but the details are still under deliberation. If everything goes as intended, the merger will involve substantial financial backing from major Japanese banks. 

This strategic move aims to bolster the competitive stance of Western Digital and Kioxia in the NAND memory market. Kioxia is slated to hold a preliminary majority stake in the proposed organizational structure of the merged entity, which will be headquartered in Japan. However, subsequent capital adjustments are expected to equalize ownership between the two companies. 

Financing the merger involves a significant capital influx, primarily from major Japanese banks. The financial institutions are contemplating a substantial investment, ranging between ¥1.5 trillion ($9.357 billion) and ¥1.9 trillion ($12.699), to facilitate the consolidation. This financial support is crucial for the realization of the merger, enabling the companies to navigate the competitive and technological landscapes of the semiconductor industry. 

However, the merger's journey towards fruition is laden with challenges, including opposition from influential stakeholders like SK Hynix and regulatory scrutiny, particularly from China's antitrust authorities. The regulatory landscape presents uncertainties, with stringent antitrust evaluations and geopolitical considerations, such as U.S. export restrictions, influencing the merger's viability. 

The collaboration aims to enhance the global competitiveness of both firms, positioning them robustly against market leaders such as Samsung Electronics in the NAND memory sector. Meanwhile, the merged entity will naturally challenge SK Hynix and Micron. 

In Q2 2023, Kioxia owned a 19.6% stake in the NAND memory market, while Western Digital secured a 14.7% share, according to TrendForce. Samsung and SK Hynix also held substantial shares, with 31.1% and 17.8% respectively. Given these statistics, the prospective merger of Kioxia and Western Digital is set to become a dominant force in the global NAND memory market, potentially commanding a combined market share of over 34.3%.

Anton Shilov
Contributing Writer

Anton Shilov is a contributing writer at Tom’s Hardware. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.