Ulrich Schmacher, president of Infineon Technologies AG, was quoted in a Japanese newspaper saying his firm is discussing a possible strategic alliance with Hynix Semiconductor Inc. to take the form of cooperative development and perhaps some joint manufacturing.
On a visit in Japan he told the Nihon Keizai Shimbun that the discussions are not aimed at a joint venture takeover of any Hynix memory fabs as contemplated in the now-stalled Hynix negotiations with Micron Technology.
An Infineon spokeswoman confirmed that Infineon is talking with Hynix, as well as to Taiwan DRAM makers about future coooperative deals. "In the on-going consolidation of the DRAM industry, everybody is talking to everyone else," she added.
Schumacher's revelations of talks with Hynix added a new wrinkle to the long saga of the financially-troubled Korea chip maker, which is seeking to dig out of $6.5 billion in debt. After talks with Micron broke off last week, Hynix and itscreditors have voiced optimism in Korea that the firm might continue successfully on its own in a rising price DRAM market. Cooperation with Infineon might be considered as a way to help that strategy.
It also could add a little luster to Infineon's image, after Micron pulled the rug out from under a pending joint venture deal the German firm thought it had sewed up with Toshiba. Instead Micron signed an agreement to acquire Toshiba's last remaining DRAM fab in Manassas, Va.
In Korea, meanwhile, a plenary meeting of the Hynix creditors slated for Thursday was postponed with no explanation. That touched off a wave of speculation about whether the creditors needed more time to consider their position after talks with Micron ended last week with no agreement, or if the entry of Infineon into the field prompted the need for further study.