Elpida leaning toward Micron as rehab partner

Kyodo

Semiconductor maker Elpida Memory Inc. plans to select Micron Technology Inc. of the United States as its rehabilitation sponsor, granting the company priority rights for negotiations, sources said Monday.

Elpida aims to make a final decision by the end of this month, paving the way for the company to rebuild with the aid of a foreign firm.

The sources said Micron has offered to provide about ¥300 billion, including leasing fees for manufacturing equipment, and proposed maintaining Eplida’s domestic plants and employment, helping the company top the sponsorship race.

Elpida filed for a bankruptcy protection in February despite taking public funds as it faced a management crisis in 2009.

Though three parties — Micron, South Korea’s SK Hynix Inc., and a coalition of U.S. and Chinese funds — had survived the first round of bidding, SK Hynix subsequently dropped out.

According to the sources, SK Hynix had been reluctant to maintain Elpida’s plants and workforce. Toshiba Corp. had aimed to join SK Hynix in the second round of bidding after being eliminated in the first round.

Meanwhile, a Chinese fund joined the bidding process by teaming up with a U.S. fund, apparently with the aim of procuring DRAM chips for PC manufacturer Lenovo Group Ltd., which was part of the consortium.