SK Hynix denies report about approaching SoftBank on Kioxia merger

SEOUL (Reuters) -South Korea’s SK Hynix Inc, the world’s second-largest memory chip maker, said on Wednesday it has not approached Japan’s SoftBank Group to partner up in a possible deal with memory chipmaker Kioxia Holdings Corp.

A Nikkei report earlier on Wednesday said SK Hynix is reluctant to back a merger between U.S. rival Western Digital’s memory chip operations and Kioxia, in which SK Hynix holds a stake. The report went on to say that SK Hynix had sounded out SoftBank for a partnership in case the merger falls through.

“SK Hynix denies Nikkei’s report that the company approached SoftBank for collaboration with regard to the Kioxia-Western Digital deal,” the company said in a statement, without commenting on its stance on the merger.

SoftBank Group denied the report. Kioxia declined to comment.

Kioxia and Western Digital Corp are pursuing a merger as a global chip glut and weak demand for flash memory chips strengthens pressure for chipmakers to consolidate.

(Reporting by Joyce Lee and Anton Bridge; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore and Louise Heavens)