February 23, 2024

An October 16  report revealed that Mitsubishi Corp plans to bid for Shinko Electric, Fujitsu’s chip packaging unit. This information also came from multiple sources, acknowledging the move from the Japanese trading company.

Mitsubishi Corp to Bid for Shinko Electric

Mitsubishi, a renowned company with Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway accounting for 8.3% of its reserves, is now stepping into the semiconductor manufacturing industry.

It plans to achieve this objective by engaging in the back-end manufacturing process that involves establishing wire connections, mounting chips onto frames, and packing the final product.

The company plans to acquire Shinko Electric for this debut. Meanwhile, Fujitsu has staked 50% of its resources for the Shinko Electric sale, amounting to approximately $2.6 million in the current market price.

Notably, this commitment has drawn the attention of various global buyout companies like KKR, Bain Capital, and Apollo Global Management. Japan Investment Corp, a government-back company, has also indicated interest in the buyout.

Interestingly, Mitsubishi plans to partner with one of these potential buyers to make a joint bid. However, the arrangements are still in the early stages, with no concluded partnership.

Aside from this, both companies have refrained from providing detailed comments on the potential developments.

Although the spokesperson for Mitsubishi mentioned the establishment of a division dedicated to chips and materials, they did not offer specific deals.

Meanwhile, Fujitsu’s spokesperson also confirmed that they are considering various options but clarified that they have not reached any final decisions.

According to sources familiar with the matter, there is no guarantee that this deal will hold, and the involvement of advisory banks in this potential transaction remains to be determined. 

Additionally, the sale of Shinko Electric could have implications concerning national economic security.

Japan Aims to Improve Its Capabilities in Chip Production

This move by Mitsubishi reflects a diversification strategy, as the firm aims to enter the semiconductor industry amid recent fluctuations in energy prices.

Notably, once a dominant force in the global semiconductor arena, Japan is now striving to revitalize its semiconductor sector. And this potential deal signifies a significant step in that direction.

This is particularly true as semiconductor packaging remains a strong suit for Japan, with companies like Ibiden, Shinko, and Toppan Holdings playing crucial roles in the global chip supply chain.

The fact that Japan designated chips as “specified critical materials” underscores the country’s commitment to bolster its capabilities in chip production and related manufacturing tools.

An August report also noted the country’s interest in this industry when it adopted significant policies to restore its international competitiveness. The new policies were due to the substantial drop from holding 50% of the global production of these chips to just 9% in 2022.

 Japan is trailing among global technology leaders this year by approximately a decade. This shift in the nation’s approach to industrial policy underscores the urgency and apprehension among policymakers.

It involves departing from long-standing practices that have defined Japan’s industrial landscape in the postwar period. This includes restrictions on foreign investment and a reluctance to permit significant foreign-owned manufacturing plants within its borders.

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