Boise, Idaho-based Micron said it was selected by Elpida following a preliminary bidding process and that its takeover proposal was given a green light from the Tokyo District Court earlier today.
The companies did not reveal a potential price or timeline for the transaction.
Elpida, of Tokyo, filed for bankruptcy protection in February and delisted its shares from the Tokyo Stock Exchange. It produces dynamic random access memory, or DRAM, the memory computers use to run programs. Competition has kept DRAM prices at rock bottom for over a decade.
Elipda's plight piqued the interest of rivals hoping to boost operations at a discount. South Korea's SK Hynix Inc. and a consortium of TPG Capital LP and China's Hony Capital both confirmed bids for Elpida and Toshiba Corp. and Taiwan's Naya Technology Corp. were rumored to be interested.
Elpida was formed in 1999 by merging the DRAM businesses of NEC Corp. and Hitachi Ltd.
In the nine months that ended Dec. 31, Elipda sales contracted 48% to ¥219.6 billion ($2.8 billion), resulting in a ¥98.9 billion loss. In the same period a year earlier the company earned net income of ¥10.3 billion. Elpida has over $5 billion in debt held by lenders including the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd., Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. and Tokyo's Development Bank of Japan Inc.
The company has been in trouble for some time. In 2009, the Japanese government designed a ¥140 billion ($1.8 billion) bailout to keep the country's only DRAM producer afloat as rivals includin gGermany's Qimonda AG collapsed. The Development Bank of Japan bought ¥30 billion of preferred Elpida shares and lent it ¥10 billion. Four other banks loaned it ¥100 billion as part of the rescue.
Prior to its bankruptcy, the company earlier this year once again turned to Tokyo but its bailout application was rejected.
Japanese technology companies are at a special disadvantage because of the strong yen. In February Panasonic Corp. and Fujitsu Ltd. confirmed they were considering merging their semi-conductor activities, possibly with billions in support from government-backed fund Innovation Network Corp. of Japan.
The units make the computer chips that perform the calculations that serve as the brains of computers.
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