SK Hynix, the world’s second-largest memory chipmaker, has offered to buy a stake in Toshiba’s microchip business as it seeks to boost the competitiveness of its loss-making Nand flash memory chip business.

Hynix said on Tuesday it submitted a non-binding bid last Friday for the stake without giving details for the bid. It added it has yet to decide whether to submit a final bid, reports Song Jung-a in Seoul.

Toshiba, the world’s second-largest Nand chipmaker, has been trying to sell a minority stake of less than 20 per cent in the memory business as it struggles to cover multi-billion dollar writedowns from its US nuclear power unit.

SK Hynix is keen to snap up Toshiba’s advanced technology in making high-end Nand chips to grab a bigger share of the booming market.

Demand for Nand flash memory chips, used for long-term data storage, has risen sharply on the growing need of processing firepower for smartphones and other mobile devices. SK Hynix however suffered losses from the Nand business last year.

The company is the fourth-largest Nand flash memory maker behind Samsung Electronics, Toshiba and Western Digital controlling 10.4 per cent of the market. This trails Samsung’s 36.6 per cent, Toshiba’s 19.8 per cent and Western Digital’s 17.1 per cent, according to IHS Markit.

A local newspaper Korea Economic Daily said earlier in the day SK Hynix offered about Won3tn for the stake as it is competing with Toshiba’s memory partner Western Digital and investment funds such as Bain Capital and Europe’s Permira in the race.

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