SK Hynix Makes Bid to Buy Part of Toshiba’s Memory Chip Arm

South Korea’s SK Hynix Inc. has offered to buy a stake in Toshiba Corp.’s microchip business, as it seeks to expand its share of the global mobile and smart devices market.

Hynix, an Apple Inc. supplier and the world’s second-largest computer memory chipmaker, said in a Tuesday filing it submitted a non-binding bid on Feb. 3., without giving specifics. It’s offered to pay at least 2 trillion won ($1.8 billion) for its envisioned stake, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said, declining to be identified talking about a private deal.

The Japanese nuclear-to-TVs conglomerate is trying to sell about a fifth of its semiconductor division to help repair a balance sheet facing billions of dollars in writedowns. Hynix, looking to boost its mobile storage chip business, has said it plans to invest about 7 trillion won ($6.1 billion) this year on expanding capacity, particularly for so-called NAND flash chips used in mobile devices.

The South Korean company, also a major producer of flash memory, may need the approval of antitrust regulators to complete its deal. 

Beyond smartphones, Hynix and other players may be looking also to get in early on the ground floor of what’s expected to be a thriving market for intelligent, AI-enabled devices in the home and office. Those gadgets will require bigger data storage and faster memory. 

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