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Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

Western Digital (Nasdaq: WDC) reportedly is in advanced talks for a $20 billion all-stock merger with Kioxia, the Japanese flash memory chipmaker owned by Bain Capital.

Why it matters: This reflects surging demand for memory chips, driven primarily by 5G expansion and the home office boom. It also could set up a series of global regulatory showdowns, if past semiconductor company merger efforts are any guide.

Background: Bain bought Kioxia via a 2018 carve-out from Toshiba. It tried taking it public in Tokyo last year, with plans to raise more than $3 billion, but bailed due to the pandemic and geopolitical tensions.

  • Earlier this year, the WSJ reported that both Western Digital and Micron (Nasdaq: MU) had expressed takeover interest.

The bottom line: "Western Digital has a joint venture with Kioxia for manufacturing and R&D that was set to expire starting in 2027. That agreement appears to have given Western Digital a leg up on Micron, which has a market value of $83 billion and could have more easily pulled off a full takeover. Their existing ties could help make a WD-Kioxia combination more palatable to regulators." — Cara Lombardo & Dana Cimilluca, WSJ

Go deeper

Oct 22, 2021 - Axios Denver

The National Western Stock Show is here to stay — with or without 2E

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, center, speaks at a 2014 press conference at the National Western Complex. Photo: RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images

What you see isn't always what you get when it comes to the 2021 political mailers touting Ballot Measure 2E.

Be smart: 2E is Mayor Michael Hancock's pitch to put $190 million in bonds toward a new "state-of-the-art" arena on the National Western Center campus and convert its 112-year-old former arena into a public market.

1 hour ago - Sports

Unvaccinated athletes face 21-day quarantine at Beijing Olympics

Logos for the 2022 Winter Olympics at Yanqing Ice Festival in February 2021 in Beijing. Photo: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

Athletes, staff members and journalists at the 2022 Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games who have not been vaccinated against the coronavirus will be required to quarantine for three weeks, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) outlined in its newly-published "playbooks."

Why it matters: The quarantine period is longer than the Games themselves, meaning vaccinations or an earlier arrival date will be required to participate in or cover the Games.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

FTX CEO predicts more U.S. crypto flight

Photo: "Axios on HBO"

FTX doesn't look much like a company valued at $25 billion. Its new headquarters, located in a sleepy part of The Bahamas, is so nondescript as to not even have a sign. But it does expect to soon have neighbors.

Driving the news: Founder and CEO Sam Bankman-Fried tells "Axios on HBO" to expect "more and more crypto flight from the states" if the U.S. doesn't soon create a regulatory regime for cryptocurrencies.