October 13, 2015 / 8:50 PM / in 2 years

Micron, Western Digital in buyout talks with SanDisk: Bloomberg

The Sandisk Corporation logo is seen as part of a display at the Microsoft Ignite technology conference in Chicago, Illinois, May 4, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Young

(Reuters) - Chipmaker Micron Technology Inc (MU.O) and hard disk drive maker Western Digital Corp (WDC.O) are in talks with memory chip maker SanDisk Corp SNDK.O about a possible acquisition, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.

SanDisk, valued at about $12.6 billion as of the stock’s close on Tuesday, has hired a bank to help with the process, Bloomberg reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.

No decision has been made and the talks may not result in a transaction, Bloomberg reported.

Shares of SanDisk – which makes flash-memory products for cloud computing, data centers, smartphones and laptops – rose 12 percent to $69.20 in extended trading on Tuesday. Micron was up 3 percent and Western Digital under 1 percent.

SanDisk, Western Digital and Micron were not immediately available for comment.

Micron and Western Digital seemed “perplexing” suitors for SanDisk, Wedbush Securities analyst Betsy van Hees said, adding that Micron already had a significant flash memory operation.

Western Digital mainly makes traditional hard drives. SanDisk’s flash-memory chips are used in solid-state drives, which are faster and more reliable than traditional hard drives.

A Chinese conglomerate could be the most interested party to potentially acquire SanDisk, van Hees said, as China looks to step up its modest but up-and-coming chip industry.

China’s state-backed Tsinghua Unigroup Ltd, a technology conglomerate, has been pursuing Micron, according to media reports. It has offered $23 billion for Micron, but the plan has been clouded by U.S. security concerns.

Tsinghua’s unit said in late September it would invest $3.78 billion in Western Digital, worth a 15 percent stake. Analysts have said the cash infusion could allow Western Digital to take bigger steps in flash and solid-state storage, its key interest areas.

SanDisk’s stock has dropped about 37 percent year-to-date as the company grappled with falling prices in the flash memory market and lean inventory levels.

A delay in sales of certain embedded parts used in solid-state drives has also weighed on the company’s results.

Milpitas, California-based SanDisk would reject any offer that was less than $90 per share, Nomura analyst Romit Shah had said last week.

Reporting by Subrat Patnaik and Sai Sachin R in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza

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