Samsung’s semiconductor business is a true cash cow for the company. It’s what salvaged the fourth quarter of last year for the company even though the Galaxy Note 7 cost it billions of dollars. The company is on top of the flash memory market with a record market share of 36.6 percent but it appears that its top position is under threat due to a move that Toshiba is making.
Toshiba is the second largest flash memory vendor in the world, second only to Samsung, and it has a market share of 19.8 percent. The company has now announced that it’s going to spin off its core memory business and that it’s also going to sell a 20 percent stake in the business.
Toshiba is looking to raise $1.7 billion from the sale and potential investors are expected to include Western Digital, the state-backed Development Bank of Japan, and private equity firms. The company also said that it could eventually publicly list the memory business as a separate entity.
As it stands, Western Digital has a market share of 17.7 percent and if the acquisition of the 20 percent stake in Toshiba’s memory business goes through, the two companies will thus have a combined market share that will push Samsung to second on the list.
Update: Western Digital has reached out to clarify that it has made no announcement about this as yet so it’s not confirmed at this point whether it’s going to acquire 20 percent of Toshiba’s memory business.