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Toshiba Corp. reportedly plans to acquire manufacturing assets from SanDisk Corp. that the two companies own in Japan. The acquisition of a stake in joint-venture between the two companies could leave SanDisk completely without own manufacturing capacities for NAND flash memory, which means that the company may become just a supplier of flash-based products.

Currently, Toshiba and SanDisk jointly own flash memory manufacturing facilities in Mie Prefecture, Japan, reports Cnet News.com citing Nikkei news-paper. In the light of the recent take-over proposal to SanDisk’s shareholders by Samsung Electronics, Toshiba has already said that it might need “preventive steps” and acquire SanDisk completely ahead of its major rival on the NAND flash market.

Toshiba may pay about ¥100 billion ($985.2 million) for its stake in the joint-venture with SanDisk. Toshiba and SanDisk have two joint-ventures that manufacture NAND flash memory. SanDisk has a 49.9% interest in each of the ventures and also funds research and development related to the ventures, claims Cnet News.com.

Without a stake in manufacturing capacities, which Toshiba naturally does not want to transfer to its rival Samsung, SanDisk will become a purely brand-name supplier of flash-based devices. Potentially, this may be a positive news for SanDisk, which is in a tough financial situation these days amid dramatic drops in NAND flash prices amid competition from China-, Korea- and Taiwan-based rivals. Since SanDisk’s manufacturing capacities are not the largest in the world, they hardly can be considered as strategically important assets.

Toshiba and SanDisk did not comment on the news-story.

Tags: Toshiba, SanDisk, Flash

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