Reports: Elpida taking on Spansion’s NAND flash ops

March 8, 2010 – Elpida Memory reportedly is purchasing Spansion’s NAND flash memory operations, with the goal to produce modules that package DRAM and flash memory targeting mobile devices such as smart phones, according to multiple reports.

Although Elpida apparently seems hesitant to confirm details publicly (PR in Japanese), the deal, apparently for ¥3B-¥5B (about US ~$34M-$56M), would bring in Spansion’s NAND technologies and R&D site in Milan, Italy; Elpida would then start developing DRAM-flash modules at its Hiroshima factory sometime in the next year, according to the Nikkei daily. Such modules are desired for most of today’s portable digital devices including smart phones, offering the speed of DRAM and the nonvolatility of flash (i.e. data is retained after power is shut off). The paper cites iSuppli statistics of a ~63% surge in demand for such modules over the next three years to $8.3B.

Spansion filed for bankruptcy protection in early 2009, but by the fall it was already eyeing a reemergence by year’s end or early 2010, and took over the distribution and foundry business from its Japanese subsidiary.

Elpida, meanwhile, is finally in the black again after two years of losses; it’s also roped in extra investments from creditors.

Other reports support the Nikkei report, at least in part. The Wall Street Journal cites an Elpida spokesperson confirming the deal, indicating the company plans to hire some Spansion workers and take over the company’s R&D assets. Bloomberg, though, also cites an Elpida spokesperson saying the proposed takeover price is "much less" than the reported figure.


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