Western Digital to buy SanDisk

westerndigitalWestern Digital is almost certain to buy the memory chipmaker SanDisk as part of the consolidation of the chip industry.

Word on the street is that the pair are in “advanced talks” which is business speak for working out who gets access to the executive gym and inherits the CEO’s drinks collection. A serious announcement is expected later in the week.

Western Digital has seen off other rivals for SanDisk, which has a market capitalisation of $14.6 billion, the people said.

The sector has been consolidating to cope with demand for cheaper chips and new products, as well a driver from technology companies to consolidate suppliers.

Any deal with SanDisk will require a sign off from Toshiba. SanDisk uses Toshiba’s foundries to make its chips and the two have an important intellectual property-sharing joint venture.

Analysts have said Toshiba is more likely to accept Western Digital as a buyer for SanDisk than Micron, a rival memory chip maker.

Western Digital, which has a market capital of about $22 billion, is also expected to receive a $4-billion cash infusion from China’s state-backed Tsinghua Holdings Co  if the deal passes regulatory scrutiny in the United States.

SanDisk, which is scheduled to report quarterly results on Wednesday, has grappled with falling prices in the flash memory market and miserable inventory levels.