Toshiba Memory is reportedly set on buying the likes of Apple, Dell, Kingston, and Seagate out of their shares in its memory manufacturing business. The move comes just a year after the consortium, led by Bain Capital, spent a grand ol’ sum of $18bn to buy in to the memory fab game.
The firm is said to be dead set on taking its memory manufacturing biz to the public with an IPO now expected to land in 2019. The company had originally planned its public offering as a contingency plan in case the Bain consortium deal fell through, however, with a little extra cash in the bank, Toshiba may press on and take to the markets regardless of its recent multi-billion dollar buyout.
Memory markets are currently on a dip, one part NAND oversupply and another part increased competition, which is having an adverse effect on sales of NAND and DRAM chips. Samsung’s profit plummeted 60% in Q1, 2019, and SK Hynix’s average selling price for NAND flash memory has plummeted 32% in that same quarter. Ouch.
Toshiba’s own Storage and Electronic Devices Solutions segment, which incorporates its NAND memory business, was down 35.9% in 2018 over the year previous, reportedly in part due to lower semiconductor sales.
But that’s not going to stop Toshiba from breaking away from its investors, and it’s expected to shill out some $4.5bn to do so according to the report from the Wall Street Journal (via The Register). The funds for which were supplied by three Japanese banks via a $11.8bn funding package.
Bain, the lead on the consortium that bought out 60% of Toshiba’s memory business in June 2018, will stick around, although other major consortium investors – including Apple, Dell, and Kingston – may be relegated back to customer status. It’s not so bad, investors will likely receive a rather hefty multi-million dollar sum for their troubles.
Toshiba also recently announced it would be pairing up with its past adversarial partners, WD, to invest in the K1 manufacturing facility in Iwate Prefecture, Japan. WD had attempted to buy Toshiba Memory for itself before the sale to Bain was confirmed, but that’s all in the past and now the two are working side by side to get the 96-layer 3D NAND fab up and running for 2020.
So what does this all mean for gamers? It looks like there’s still plenty of buzz around memory manufacturing, even despite the recent price plummet, which we’re hoping will maintain high competition between manufacturers and, subsequently, keep SSD, RAM, and even graphics card memory chip prices low for some time to come.