Toshiba considers spinning off its memory business

Western Digital could be an investor in the business, according to a report

New Fab2 at Toshiba Yokkaichi Operations

Toshiba said Wednesday it is exploring a spinoff of its memory business but added that nothing had been finalized at this point.

The Japanese company said that it positions its memory unit as a business focus.

The announcement by Toshiba follows news reports that the company was planning to spin off its semiconductor  business. The company is considering selling a “partial stake” in its semiconductor business to Western Digital in the U.S. to raise funds due to losses in its U.S. nuclear plant unit, the Nikkei Asian Review reported.

The company may sell a 20 percent stake in the memory business for up to $2.65 billion, according to the newspaper.

Toshiba, which is still recovering from an accounting scandal, is focused on nonvolatile memory like 3D flash memory. The company first entered the flash memory market in 1984. It also makes wireless memory cards and USB flash drives.

Western Digital last year acquired SanDisk, which has been a long-term partner of Toshiba, with the two companies partnering in the fabrication of nonvolatile memories. The joint venture has provided SanDisk with stable NAND supply in volume and extends across memory technologies such as 3D NAND.

Western Digital said in 2015 that with the acquisition of SanDisk, it could integrate into the NAND business and ensure long-term access to solid state technology at lower cost. Similar considerations may also be driving Western Digital's reported interest in Toshiba's memory business.

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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