Memory, SSD Maker Kioxia Plans 2024 IPO: Report

An IPO on the Japan Stock Exchange would give Kioxia a chance to take advantage of rising semiconductor company share prices and expanded cloud when it comes to refinancing negotiations over a $5.8-billion loan. It could also pave the way to restart merger negotiations with Western Digital.

Japan-based memory and SSD manufacturer Kioxia Holdings is once again preparing to go public on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Bloomberg reported Tuesday that one of Kioxia’s major shareholders, Bain Capital, has told Kioxia’s banks of its intent to file for an IPO.

The move to file for an IPO comes as some Kioxia executives hope to revive plans for a company merger with Western Digital, the news outlet reported.

[Related: Kioxia-Western Digital Merger Off Following SK Hynix Decision]

Kioxia was unable to provide further information to CRN by press time.

Kioxia, which until October 2019 was known as Toshiba Memory, is a world leader in memory and SSD technologies, including SLC NAND flash memory, NAND with integrated controllers, and 3-D BiCS Flash technology, along with enterprise, data center and client SSDs.

For Kioxia, the move to become a public company would be an opportunity to take advantage of a surge in share prices of Japan-based semiconductor companies, Bloomberg said.

The company could also use the listing to negotiate with banks over a June deadline to refinance up to $5.8 billion in loans, Bloomberg said.

Kioxia and Western Digital have had an on-again, off-again conversation about the possibility of merging the two companies. Such talks were called off last October as a major shareholder, Korea-based KS Hynix, said it opposed the merger.

The two have had a 20-year joint venture for developing flash memory at the Yokkaichi Plant, the largest semiconductor plant in Japan.

Speculation about bringing Western Digital and Kioxia together to build a flash memory and SSD giant has been going on for nearly three years.

Western Digital and Kioxia were looking at a possible merger in August 2021, although those talks went nowhere.

Prior to that, Western Digital and Boise, Idaho-based DRAM and flash memory manufacturer Micron were looking at a possible acquisition of Kioxia in a deal that might value Kioxia at about $30 billion.

Western Digital in June 2022 said it was evaluating strategic and financial alternatives, including a full separation of its flash business. A month earlier, activist investment company Elliott Investment Management asked Western Digital to split into two companies, one focused on spinning hard drives and the other on flash drives, as a way to maximize the value of both technology lines. The company currently expects to complete such a split into two separate independent, publicly traded companies during the second half of 2024.