Japan's Kioxia, formerly Toshiba Memory, aims for Sept IPO - report

TOKYO (Reuters) -Japan’s Kioxia Holdings Corp, the world’s second largest maker of flash memory chips and formerly known as Toshiba Memory, plans an initial public offering as early as September, weekly financial magazine Diamond reported on Thursday.

Kioxia, which is controlled by private equity firm Bain Capital, last year shelved a plan to offer up to 334.3 billion yen ($3 billion) in shares, which would have been Japan’s largest IPO of 2020.

That postponement came amid trade frictions between China and the United States that the Japanese chip maker worried would cut it off from key customers.

The Tokyo bourse is expected to give its approval in July, the report said, citing sources.

A Kioxia spokesperson on Thursday said the firm was “aiming to IPO at the appropriate time” but declined to comment further.

A spokesperson for Toshiba which still owns 40.6% of the chipmaker, declined to comment.

The Japanese industrial conglomerate, which holds its annual shareholder meeting on Friday amid a furore over accusations management pressured foreign shareholders to back its plans, sold a controlling stake in the prize business unit to Bain in 2018 to raise funds to tackle a financial crisis.

Concern that U.S.-China trade friction would hurt Kioxia’s business has eased and a share offer this year would come as the United States, Europe, Japan and China vie to build chip production hubs to secure semiconductor supplies amid worries of global shortages and expectations of longer-term rising demand, such as from car makers.

Media reports previously cited rivals Micron Technology Inc and Western Digital Corp as potential investors in Kioxia.

Toshiba shares rose 0.4% to 4,860 yen in morning trading.

($1 = 111.0700 yen)

Reporting by Sam Nussey and Tim Kelly; Writing by Ritsuko Ando; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Jane Wardell