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By | Chris Mellor 24th January 2012 16:22

Micron, Elpida, Nanya lust for a DRAM hot threesome

Merge mulled to take on rampant South Korean rivals

The boys from Boise are on a roll after buying the ashes of Virtensys last week - now Idaho-based Micron is chatting up struggling Japanese memory maker Elpida and Taiwan's Nanya to form a 3-way merger.

Reuters reports that talks have reached the final stage. Elpida has not been raking in enough revenue to be either profitable or repay its debts, and has been trying to delay debt repayments. Reports have suggested Elpida has been talking to Toshiba, which makes NAND but not DRAM chips, about an alliance, which would keep it Japanese.

Memory sales are weak: only the biggest and most cost-efficient fabs and operators can make money, notably the South Korean operators such as Samsung. That is leading Micron and Nanya to think about a tripartite hook-up with Elpida as a seemingly inevitable DRAM industry restructuring draws closer.

Reuters bases its report on a story in Japan's Yomiuri newspaper. Elpida has said parts of that report are wrong, but not which parts.

Micron and Nanya have a joint venture, which runs the Inotera DRAM manufacturing concern, plus a co-development agreement about future DRAM chip technology. This runs out to 2018.

It appears that due diligence processes will begin soon between Elpida, Nanya and Micron. Meanwhile Elpida's own debt reconstruction efforts continue as do talks with Toshiba. ®

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