SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Seagate Technology Inc. could be a buyer of Intel Corp.'s stake in IM Flash Technologies LLC, the joint NAND flash-memory manufacturing venture between Intel and Micron Technology Inc., according to an analyst.
It's all speculation right now, but rumors are running rampant that Intel will eventually exit the venture.
''We believe the (joint venture) is unprofitable for Intel and it would be logical for it to exit the partnership if Intel were able to maintain some guaranteed capacity,'' said Daniel Amir, an analyst at Lazard Capital Markets, in a report. ''Seagate would gain the capacity it needs and Intel would have a way out of its moneylosing
venture while still being a player in the (solid-state disk) market.''
Intel has taken a beating in NAND flash in recent times, but the company still has an interest in two ventures: IM Flash and Numonyx. Numonyx is the memory venture between Intel and STMicroelectronics Inc.
To some degree, there is a conflict between the two ventures. Meanwhile, Seagate is a hard disk-drive maker, but that company has some interest in NAND flash, given its recent entry in the solid-state storage (SSD) arena.
''Intel's IM Flash stake could be of value to Seagate, based on STX's interest in SSD, driven by the movement in PC markets to SSD from HDD,'' the analyst said.
It would also benefit Micron. ''For Micron, the other partner in IM Flash, it would take away a potential competitor in NAND cards via Intel and strengthen the JV with a committed long-term partner,'' Amir said.