SK head to visit Japan on Toshiba deal
SEOUL, April 21 (Yonhap) -- SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won plans to visit Japan next week as the group's chip-making arm SK hynix Inc. has joined the race to take over the memory division of Japanese tech giant Toshiba Corp., industry sources said Friday.
During his stay in Japan, Chey plans to meet executives of Toshiba to explain SK Group's vision on the chip industry, according to the sources.
Toshiba has put its entire stake in its memory operations up for sale as it struggles with losses from its nuclear power business in the United States. The Japanese firm initially only intended to sell around a 20 percent stake.
Japanese media has reported that along with SK hynix, Taiwan-based Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., U.S. Western Digital and Silver Lake Partners were shortlisted as potential buyers of Toshiba's memory business.
Toshiba is the world's second-largest maker of NAND flash memory chips, mainly used in smartphones and other mobile devices. The chip is used to store data even when devices' power goes off.
SK hynix has been moving to bolster its NAND flash memory operations. If it wins the deal, the company will become the No. 2 player worldwide.
Sources said Hon Hai, better known as Foxconn, suggested 3 trillion Japanese yen (US$26.3 billion), higher than the offered price tags by other rivals, including SK hynix that handed in an estimate of 2 trillion yen.
On Thursday, Chey said SK Group will seek various ways to join forces with Toshiba, expressing his strong willingness to succeed in the acquisition.
Sources said earlier that SK hynix formed a consortium with Bain Capital to bid for Toshiba's memory unit.
Meanwhile, Chey's Japan visit will mark the first time for Chey to leave the country after his travel ban was lifted earlier this month.
SK Group has been embroiled in a corruption scandal surrounding former President Park Geun-hye and her confidante. Investigators recently cleared Chey of speculations that he also took part of the scandal.
SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won (Yonhap)