Hynix CEO: Micron merger murmurs bogus

Nov. 23, 2001 – Seoul, Korea — Hynix Semiconductor’s CEO today denied that there had been any discussion of merging with US-based Micron Technology, one of the world’s largest chipmakers.

“There’s not a grain of truth in it,” said Hynix CEO C.S. Park in a statement to the Korea Stock Exchange, according to reports by CBS MarketWatch.

The exchange had reportedly asked the trouble-plagued Hynix for an explanation about rumors that it was looking to sell a controlling stake to Micron.

Hynix recently got a bailout package worth about 10 trillion won ($7.87 billion) from its creditors.

Shin Kook-hwan, who heads the creditor-led restructuring committee, said in an interview published in Friday’s Naeway Economic Daily that he had a “special solution” that would focus on strengthening the Hynix instead of finding a buyer or a strategic partner for it.

Shin, a former Minister of Commerce, Industry and Energy, said the committee would reveal the new restructuring plan early next week. Hynix plans to issue up to 1 trillion won of new shares early next year to raise cash.

The company had said earlier that its creditors had considered the possibility of selling a stake to Micron, but that no actual moves or negotiations had been made.

Hynix shares rallied on heavy buying by individual investors betting a foreign company would snap up a controlling stake in the firm. Hynix executive vice president Jeon In-baik had acknowledged that very possibility on Nov. 1.

But after the chairman weighed in Friday, Hynix shares eased 1.3 percent lower to 1,910 won, accounting for half of the Seoul market’s turnover on a day when the blue-chip Kospi Index surged 3.3 percent to a 14-month high at 645.18.

In other news concerning the Korean chipmaker, a US District Court on Wednesday postponed final judgment in a patent lawsuit filed by Hynix against computer memory maker Rambus, which has seen more than a small share of courtroom time over the past year.

Hynix is seeking declaratory relief that its synchronous dynamic random access memory (SDRAM) chips did not infringe Rambus patents.

The Hynix case has, with Wednesday’s ruling, been postponed temporarily, with a further indication by the court that, subject to certain pre-conditions designed to protect Hynix from prejudice in the interim, it is inclined to postpone the case for a further, indefinite period of time.

That further stay would postpone the case pending resolution of Rambus’ appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit from a case tried in Virginia last spring against Infineon of Germany. The Hynix and the Infineon cases involve some of the same patents and other related issues.

“We believe today’s result in California is a very positive step toward what we believe is the appropriate next forum for Rambus patent cases in the United States — the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit,” said John Danforth senior vice president and general counsel for Rambus Inc. “The Federal Circuit is where Rambus is currently appealing a number of adverse rulings from Virginia, including an erroneous jury instruction and several patent claim construction rulings that we believe are overly narrow, misconstrue our patents, and ignore well-settled law. We are highly confident of the positions we have taken on appeal, believe that those positions will prevail, and have very recently filed our opening Federal Circuit brief.”


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