Korea’s FTC clears SK hynix’s acquisition of Intel NAND flash, SSD biz

2021.05.27 15:38:26

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South Korea’s antitrust agency on Thursday gave a nod to SK hynix’s $9 billion acquisition of NAND flash and solid state drive (SSD) business from U.S. chipmaker Intel.

The Fair Trade Commission on Thursday concluded their combined shares in the NAND flash and SSD market was not big enough to cause concern. Samsung Electronics Co. dominates the flash memory market with 30 percent.

SK hynix is the second largest player in the DRAM market, but there is little possibility that the merged entity will monopolize the suppliers for manufacturing of SSDs as other makers like Samsung and Micron are supplying DRAMs as well, the agency explained.

SK hynix signed a contract to acquire Intel’s NAND chip and SSD business for $9 billion in October last year and filed for a review with the antitrust authority in January.

Through the acquisition, the Korean chipmaker seeks to bolster the NAND flash business, and Intel aims to reorganize the non-flagship business contributing less than 10 percent to total revenue.

The merger requires a review from antitrust authorities of eight countries, and SK hynix has so far received an approval from three of them including the U.S. and Europe.

Separately, the FTC approved U.S. chipmaker AMD’s takeover of Xilinx on the same day.

AMD signed a $36 billion acquisition deal for the U.S. supplier of programmable logic devices maker in October last year to expand its business portfolio to 5G, autonomous driving and aviation in response to a surge in demand for high-performance computing.

Semiconductor businesses are aggressively seeking M&A opportunities to better respond to future demand. The FTC will deliver quick review of the cases to clear expansion plans that do not affect market competition, it said in a statement.

SK hynix shares closed 2.03 percent higher at 125,500 won in Seoul trading on Thursday.

By Lee Ha-yeon

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