Nothing like some consolidation in the memory market to start the week. Earlier this morning, Micron announced that it’s entered a "sponsor agreement" to acquire Japanese memory manufacturer Elpida Memory.
The transaction will involve a ¥60-billion ($750-million) cash payment. It’s also going to involve an additional ¥140 billion ($1.75 billion), which Micron will pay in annual installments until 2019 to pay off Elpida’s debt. Elpida filed for bankruptcy protection back in February; at the time, Reuters said its debt added up to about $5.6 billion.
In a "related transaction," Micron is going to pay 10 billion Taiwanese dollars ($334 million U.S.) to purchase 24% of Rexchip Electronics, a Taiwanese manufacturer of DRAM chips. Elpida already has a 65% stake in Rexchip, so once the proceedings go through, Micron will end up with a 89% stake in the Taiwanese firm. Micron says the firm’s assets include "a 300mm DRAM fabrication facility located in Taiwan; and an assembly and test facility located in Akita, Japan."
According to Reuters’ coverage of the deal, acquiring Elpida will double Micron’s slice of the DRAM market. It will also make Micron the world’s second-biggest DRAM manufacturer after Samsung. Right now, Reuters says, Elpida and Micron own 13.1% and 11.6% of the market, respectively, while Samsung has a larger 42.2% share.