SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Is SanDisk Corp. on the block?
At first, the big rumor was that disk-drive giant Seagate Technology Inc. was interested in buying all or part of SanDisk, according to sources in the industry.
Then, South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. was considering acquiring flash-memory maker SanDisk, according to reports.
Now, in the latest rumor, it's Toshiba Corp. Seeking to derail Samsung's interest, Japan's Toshiba is ''interested'' in making a bid for SanDisk, according to Reuters.
"We need to take preventive steps, if (SanDisk) looks like it'll be acquired," said Shozo Saito, corporate senior vice president of Toshiba and president and CEO of Toshiba's Semiconductor Co., in the report from Reuters.
The rumors leave some to wonder if SanDisk is on the block. Like most others in the sector, SanDisk has recently struggled amid the NAND downturn.
At the same time, Toshiba can't afford to let Samsung buy SanDisk. If Samsung were to buy SanDisk, Samsung could gain a monopoly in NAND flash-memory devices, components and subsystems.
Besides, Toshiba and SanDisk have been NAND partners for several years. The two companies compete in the market, but they are also partners in a NAND chip venture.
SanDisk has a 49.9 percent ownership interest in Flash Partners Ltd., a business venture with Toshiba which owns 50.1 percent. Formed in fiscal year 2004, the 300-mm fab continues to produce NAND.
SanDisk has a 49.9 percent ownership interest in Flash Alliance Ltd., a business venture with Toshiba which owns 50.1 percent. Formed in fiscal year 2006, the 300-mm fab continues to produce NAND.
Earlier this year, Toshiba and SanDisk signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding on one of the new fabs, targeting a production start-up date in 2010, and a related production joint venture. Details of the fab, including site location, will be finalized as planning progresses.