SAN JOSE, Calif. -- There are conflicting reports in the DRAM market in Asia. According to one report from Bloomberg, Japanese DRAM maker Elpida Memory Inc. appears to be involved in talks to buy Taiwan's Powerchip Semiconductor Corp. and ProMOS Technologies Inc.
The talks also involve Rexchip, a joint DRAM manufacturing venture between Elpida and Powerchip, according to the reports. Elpida owns a 48.8 percent stake in Rexchip. Elpida plans to acquire a 52 percent stake in Rexchip by March of 2009. The acquisition will result in Rexchip becoming a consolidated subsidiary of Elpida.
For some time, there has been talk that Elpida (Tokyo) could acquire its DRAM partner in Powerchip. Powerchip (Hsinchu) is losing huge sums of money amid a memory downturn.
The talks between Elpida and ProMOS would be a major surprise. ProMOS is working with DRAM rival Hynix Semiconductor Inc. Korea's Hynix also invested in ProMOS. At the same time, Micron Technology Inc. is also reportedly working with ProMOS.
To complicate matters, Powerchip is also seeking a bailout from the Taiwan government for some $606 million, according to Reuters.
And in another report, Elpida and Powerchip will ''ask the Taiwan government for financial assistance in exchange for moving more of Elpida's research and development to Taiwan,'' according to the Financial Times.
Separately, Elpida has reorganized its operations in a move to cut costs and offset losses. It has merged its Mobile and Digital Consumer Divisions. The company has also merged its product quality assurance functions.
Other DRAM makers are also in trouble. To maintain its operations in the form of a rescue package, Hynix will obtain 800 billion won ($598 million) in bank loans from its shareholders.
Struggling memory maker Qimonda AG announced that is has arranged a 325 million euro ($450 million) financing package. In return, Qimonda has promised to continue to develop its R&D and manufacturing sites in Porto, Portugal and Dresden, Germany.
The government in Taiwan--and possibly Korea--may seek to bail-out the failing DRAM makers in those nations, but an analyst warned that such an action would be a ''disaster'' for the industry as a whole. It would just prolong the downturn, an analysts said.