Micron to buy Elpida, DRAM market left with 3 competitors

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Bloomberg brings news from Japan that U.S-based chipmaker Micron Technology will purchase Japanese rival Elpida. This falls in line with a statement made last month by CEO Mark Durcan that Micron would make the purchase, but only if it could avoid stock dilution and the acquisition of too much interest-bearing debt.

Micron is the last major U.S-based maker of memory chips, well known for its brand of Crucial memory and its solid entries into the SSD space. Elpida is a major supplier or memory chips for Apple.

Elpida filed for bankruptcy in February due a perfect storm of falling DRAM prices and Japan's increasingly strong currency, a combination which makes it difficult to export goods which are both profitable and competitively priced.

Micron is said to be paying about 140 billion yen -- or about 1.76 billion dollars -- just to shed a portion of Elpida's debt. The report also claims that Micron will also be investing about 100 billion yen in Elpida's facilities, a shot in the arm which should bolster its ability to crank out DRAM chips.

Micron's absorption of Elpida will leave the global DRAM market with only three competitors: Samsung, Hynix and Micron. Currently, Samsung owns about 41 percent of the market while Hynix comes in a distant second at 24 percent. Both Micron and Elpida weigh in around 12 percent each, meaning their combined total will essentially tie them with Hynix in terms of market volume.

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