Samsung is eyeing a possible acquisition of memory chip-maker SanDisk.
The company, which is the world’s largest computer memory maker in the world, said it was “considering various opportunities” with regard to SanDisk “but nothing has been decided yet.” The comment came after Korean online news service Edaily reported that Samsung had engaged JPMorgan Chase to advise on the acquisition of SanDisk.
In response, SanDisk issued a brief statement that, as is standard in such cases, didn’t directly address the report in question.
“SanDisk periodically has conversations with multiple parties, including Samsung, regarding a variety of potential business opportunities. We evaluate all of these opportunities, but maintain a policy of not commenting on market rumors or speculation,” it said.
SanDisk has seen its share price sink from just under $80 at the beginning of 2006 to $14 on Thursday. So far this year its share price and thus the value of the company has more than halved.
The acquisition buzz comes as the two companies are currently battling each other in court over the April 2006 termination of a patent licensing agreement. Samsung disputed the termination of the agreement and the two entered arbitration, which ended in May this year with a panel deciding the contract had been properly terminated. On July 24 Samsung petitioned the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to vacate the panel’s final award. SanDisk said it intends to fight the Samsung petition.
SanDisk has close ties to Toshiba, a rival to Samsung, and the two jointly operate flash memory production factories through their Flash Alliance joint venture. They also closely cooperate on design and development of new memory chips so an acquisition by Samsung could mean big competitive changes in the memory chip market.