Memory chip-maker Micron Technology Inc. (MU) is just a step away from completing the much-awaited acquisition of Japanese chip-maker Elpida. The deal, which was announced in May 2012, took a long time to gather approvals from different authorities and to satisfy legal requirements.
Recently, Micron announced that it received an approval from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce. In 2012, the deal got approval from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, the Japan Fair Trade Commission and a district court in Tokyo. The deal still awaits waiver of certain legal conditions and approval from creditors. Creditor votes are due tomorrow, Feb 26.
The deal was valued at 200 billion Yen or $2.5 billion. Per the deal, Micron won an exclusive right for paying off bankrupt Elpida’s debt. Additionally, Micron agreed to keep the two main factories of Elpida in Japan, which also comes with a guarantee to keep the current employees of the factory.
Micron received the acceptance of Elpida’s trustees but the final restructuring plan was due for approval by the local court and the creditors of the company. Micron won the deal defeating Hynix Semiconductor Inc. of South Korea.
There is no doubt that the acquisition will help Micron to expand its operation across the globe with special emphasis on Japan. Moreover, the technical know-how that the company gains from Elpida will be of much use and will also help it to understand the Japanese market better. Also, the fact that Elpida won a major DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory) supplying agreement with Apple Inc. (AAPL), will give Micron another reason to cheer. With this, Micron’s wafer manufacturing capacity will increase nearly 50%.
With the acquisition, the number of leading DRAM chip manufacturers will drop to three, namely, Samsung (the market leader), Micron and Hynix Semiconductor. Previously, Elpida was behind Hynix and Micron had the lowest market share.
Though Micron’s prospects in the mobile DRAM market look promising, it will not be easy to outpace Samsung. Samsung has held the largest share of this market for years and there are indications that it will sustain the same rank for the coming years as well.
Stiff competition from SanDisk Corp. (SNDK) and STEC Inc. (STEC) are also concerns.
Currently, Micron Technology has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).