Toshiba on Monday announced it has acquired 30 percent of SanDisk's NAND flash memory production capacity for $1 billion. Toshiba has been previously interested in purchasing SanDisk entirely, after Samsung made a similar bid for the flash memory maker. Toshiba's purchase will allow it to boost its NAND memory capacity quicker and for less money than investing in its own operations. The two companies already have joint NAND operations that produce 300mm wafers, and the purchase represents a reshuffling of those assets between the companies.
Two factories in Japan are currently equally shared between the Toshiba and SanDisk under three joint ventures, but the new agreement will make Toshiba the sole owner of 30 percent of the resulting capacity, with the remaining 70 percent still shared equally between the existing joint ventures. Toshiba hopes to turn the newly acquired capacity into increased sales, as the company believes demand will grow by 200 percent annually thanks to the increasing popularity of devices that use the memory, including MP3 players, digital cameras and smartphones.
Earlier this year, Samsung has made a $5.85 billion bid to buy SanDisk, which was turned down. Some analysts have said today's news strengthens the possibility of a deal between Samsung and SanDisk is forthcoming, basing it largely on the belief Toshiba wouldn't alter its existing agreements if it didn't think Samsung will eventually purchase SanDisk.