Micron, Western Digital Looking at Possible Deals for Chip Maker Kioxia

Micron Technology Inc . and Western Digital Corp . are each exploring a potential deal for Kioxia Holdings Corp. that could value the Japanese semiconductor company at around $30 billion, according to people familiar with the matter, as a global scramble for memory chips used in smartphones and other devices heats up.

A deal for Kioxia, controlled by private-equity firm Bain Capital, isn’t guaranteed, and it isn’t clear how one might be structured. Should a deal come together, it could be finalized later this spring, some of the people said.

The Tokyo-based company had been planning an initial public offering before shelving it in late September, citing the coronavirus pandemic and market volatility.

An IPO later this year is still a possibility should the company fail to reach agreement on a deal with one of the suitors, the people said.

Kioxia is considered a crown-jewel asset in Japan, and—given the additional political sensitivities of transferring ownership of key technology like that in chips—any transaction would likely require the blessing of the government there. Washington would also likely play a role, but a deal could fit with a push by the U.S. to boost its chipmaking capabilities to increase competitiveness with China.

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