Tue, Jul 04, 2017 - Page 12 News List

Hon Hai said to mull Macronix alliance

BARGAINING CHIP:The Taiwanese company has approached Macronix due to the latter’s patents and its ongoing lawsuit against Toshiba, a local newspaper reported

By Lauly Li  /  Staff reporter

Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) is reportedly considering forming a strategic alliance with Macronix International Co (旺宏電子), the world’s No. 2 NOR flash memorychip maker, to help Hon Hai’s bid to acquire Toshiba Corp’s memorychip unit.

Hon Hai chairman Terry Gou (郭台銘) and General Interface Solution Holding Ltd (GIS, 業成) chairman Chou Hsien-ying (周賢穎) last month met several times with Macronix chairman Miin Wu (吳敏求) to discuss a potential alliance, as Macronix owns a large number of patents for memory products that could be used as a bargaining chip in the Toshiba bid, the Chinese-language newspaper Economic Daily News reported yesterday.

Toshiba on June 21 selected a consortium consisting of Innovation Network Corp of Japan, state-backed Development Bank of Japan, Bain Capital LP and South Korea’s SK Hynix as a “preferred bidder” for Toshiba Memory.

Gou on June 22 told an international news conference that the Japanese government and Toshiba had intentionally pushed Hon Hai out, despite the Hon Hai-led consortium, including Apple Inc and Amazon.com Inc, offering a higher price.

Macronix in April filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Toshiba over Macronix’s memory products, including NAND and NOR flash memories used in mobile devices and car navigation systems. The US International Trade Commission (ITC) has launched an investigation into the complaint.

If the investigation concludes that Toshiba has infringed upon patent rights, the ITC may ban the infringing products, or products containing infringing components, from being imported to the US, Macronix said in a statement in April.

In terms of the number of patents for 3D stacked memory technology, Macronix ranks No. 4 worldwide with 95, while Toshiba has 44 patents, Macronix said, citing an analysis by LexInnova in 2015.

Hon Hai reached out to Macronix mainly due to the memorychip maker’s patents and its ongoing lawsuit against Toshiba, the newspaper said, citing unnamed sources that are familiar with Gou’s meetings with Wu.

Hon Hai and Macronix yesterday declined to comment.

Gou on Saturday told during an interview with the Nikkei Asian Review that Hon Hai will drop its bid for Toshiba Memory after six months if Toshiba continues to exclude Hon Hai.

“I would no longer want to acquire [Toshiba’s memory unit] after six months, because by then its technology will be falling behind the others,” Gou said.

Macronix shares yesterday surged by 4.79 percent to NT$17.5 at the beginning of the trading session. The stock closed at NT$16.8, up 0.6 percent from the previous trading session.

Hon Hai’s stock price fell 0.43 percent to close at NT$116.5, Taiwan Stock Exchange data showed.

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