X-bit Labs reports SanDisk signed a definitive agreement with Toshiba this week to restructure the firm's flash memory manufacturing joint ventures. The result of the agreement is that SanDisk will become a nearly fabless flash memory vendor. SanDisk says the deal will cut their capital spending, strengthen its financial position and increase its business flexibility.
The restructuring will result in the transfer of equipment lease obligations from SanDisk to Toshiba and a cash payment to SanDisk for the transfer of certain equipment currently owned by the joint ventures. The total value to SanDisk is approximately ¥80 billion (approximately $890 million) based on current exchange rates. Approximately 66% of the total amount will reduce SanDisk’s current equipment lease obligations by about 28% and approximately one-third will be received by SanDisk in cash. The lease transfers and cash payment are expected to be completed by the end of the first calendar quarter of 2009.
SanDisk and Toshiba will remain equal partners for the capacity remaining in the joint ventures. SanDisk will have the option to purchase a part of the transferred capacity from Toshiba on a foundry basis and retains the option to continue to invest up to 50% in future Fab 4 expansions and technology transitions in Fab 3 and Fab 4. In addition, the parties will continue their existing joint technology development in advanced NAND and 3D read/write memory.