Japan chipmaker Kioxia delays $4.4 billion IPO amid US-China tensions

TOKYO (REUTERS) -Kioxia Holdings, the world's second-largest maker of flash memory chips, on Monday (Sept 28) postponed plans for what would have been Japan's largest initial public offering (IPO) this year as USChina tensions cloud the global chip market.

The move by Kioxia, previously known as Toshiba Memory, highlights how disputes over trade and technology between Washington and Beijing have cast a shadow over the global chip industry, and impacted 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.

The move came after Kioxia earlier this month set a tentative price range for an IPO in Tokyo that put the market value lower than 2 trillion yen (S$26 billion), the price that a Bain Capital-led group paid for the company two years ago.

Kioxia had planned to list on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Oct 6, offering up to 334.3 billion yen (S$4.4 billion) in shares.

The memory chip market is bracing for the impact of tighter US restrictions on Huawei Technologies 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.