Fri, Apr 03, 2009 - Page 12 News List

Elpida mulls selling 10% stake to TMC

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Elpida Memory Inc, Japan’s biggest computer-memory chipmaker, may sell a stake of about 10 percent to Taiwan Memory Co (TMC, 台灣記憶體公司) after the state-owned semiconductor company named it as its technology partner on Wednesday.

The Tokyo-based company is considering a private stock placement and may ask TMC to underwrite preferred shares and loans, Kumi Higuchi, an Elpida spokeswoman, said by telephone yesterday. She was confirming a report by the Nikkei Shimbun.

“There has been some discussion on whether a stake sale will happen, but no specific negotiations have taken place yet,” Higuchi said.

The company, which posted a fifth straight quarterly loss in the three months ended Dec. 31, is seeking financing as the global recession curbs consumer spending, hurting demand for its chips that go into electronics, such as computers and handsets. The partnership will help lower research costs at Elpida and may bolster the Japanese chipmaker’s capital.

TMC will develop dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chips with Elpida and will jointly own the intellectual property rights to new technologies, John Hsuan (宣明智), who heads Taiwan Memory, said on Wednesday. The new business may also work with Boise, Idaho-based Micron Technology Inc, he said.

Elpida is also considering setting up a research and development center in Taiwan by 2011 as part of its technology partnership with TMC, Higuchi said.

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