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Japanese chipmaker Kioxia postpones $3.2 billion IPO plan amid U.S.-China tensions


Kioxia Holdings Corp, the world’s second-largest maker of flash memory chips, on Monday postponed plans for what would have been Japan’s largest initial public offering (IPO) this year, as U.S-China tensions cloud the global chip market.

Kioxia, previously known as Toshiba Memory, had planned to list on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Oct. 6, offering up to 334.3 billion yen ($3.2 billion) in shares.

The delay highlights how disputes over trade and technology between Washington and Beijing have cast a shadow over the global chip industry and affected companies across the supply chain.

“While we received significant interest from many investors, the lead underwriters and Kioxia do not believe it is in the best interest of current or prospective shareholders to proceed with the IPO at this time of continued market volatility and ongoing concerns about a second wave of the pandemic,” Kioxia CEO and President Nobuo Hayasaka said in a statement.

The company would “revisit an IPO at an appropriate time. We are not in a rush,” he added.

Kioxia earlier this month set a tentative price range for an IPO in Tokyo that put the market value lower than 2 trillion yen ($18.94 billion), the price that a Bain Capital-led group paid for the company two years ago.

Toshiba had intended to return most of the IPO proceeds to shareholders and said it was disappointed in Kioxia’s decision. Its shares fell as much as 8.6% in early trade before paring some of the losses to trade down 3.7% by 0030 GMT.

Bain Capital declined to comment.

The memory chip market is bracing for the impact of tighter U.S. restrictions on Huawei Technologies Co Ltd [HWT.UL] that came into force on Sept. 15.

Kioxia has warned the curbs, which ban global suppliers from selling chips made using U.S. technology to the Chinese telecoms giant without a special licence, could cause memory chip oversupply and drive down market prices.

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