Micron Technology Inc. on Monday, July 2, finalized a deal with trustees of Elpida Memory Inc. to buy the bankrupt Japanese chipmaker for ¥200 billion ($2.5 billion).
The deal comes more than four months after Elpida filed for bankruptcy protection at the Tokyo District Court with liabilities of ¥448 billion and almost two months after the Boise, Idaho company was selected as the so-called sponsor of Elpida's corporate reorganization after a bid process.
The deal still requires court, creditor and antitrust approvals but if it proceeds it will strengthen Micron's ability to challenge market leader Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. in the dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) chips sector, where tough competition has kept prices at rock bottom for more than a decade.
"We are creating the industry-leading pure-play memory company," said Micron CEO Mark Durcan in a statement. "Today's transactions will help strengthen the combined companies' market position in the memory industry through increased research and development and manufacturing scale; improved access to core memory market segments; and additional wafer capacity....."
Micron said it will pay ¥60 billion for 100% of Elpida's equity and another ¥140 billion in installments, which will repay all Elpida's prepetition debt to creditors including the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd., Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. and Development Bank of Japan Inc. Micron will also invest a further, undisclosed amount to support Elpida capital expenditure and maintain its operations and workforce.
Early-stage bidders for Elpida had reportedly included Toshiba Corp. and South Korea's SK Hynix Inc., with China's Hony Capital, backed by TPG Capital, proceeding to a later round, according to local reports.
Micron also said Monday it had agreed to buy the 24% share of Rexchip Electronics Corp. held by Powerchip Technology Corp. for 10 billion new Taiwan dollars ($334.7 million). Micron will get a 65% stake in Rexchip from the Elpida purchase.
Elpida was created in 1999 from the merger of NEC Corp. and Hitachi Ltd.'s DRAM businesses. In 2009 it was the beneficiary of a ¥140 billion state-backed bailout to keep the country's only DRAM producer afloat as rivals including Germany's Qimonda AG collapsed.
Prior to its bankruptcy, the company earlier this year once again turned to Tokyo, but its bailout application was rejected.
For the nine months ended Dec. 31, Elpida suffered a net loss of ¥98.9 billion on sales of ¥219.6 billion.
Micron had nine-month sales of $6.3 billion in the period to March 31 and a net loss of $789 million. It had a market value of $6.2 billion as of Friday, after its shares closed up 5.7%.