SAN JOSE, Calif. -- NOR flash vendor Spansion Inc. missed its target date to emerge from bankruptcy.
So what's next for the troubled company? Clearly, Spansion (Sunnyvale, Calif.) will move forward in the process to emerge from bankruptcy, but it will most likely emerge as a smaller, niche-oriented company.
Over time, some believe Spansion will be a takeover target. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. could be a possible buyer. Others disagree, saying that Samsung is losing interest in NOR.
To be sure, though, the NOR supply chain is a mess. It's unclear which vendors can deliver parts--and who can't.
''Regarding Samsung buying (Spansion), why should they? To be number one in NOR seems too expensive'' and not worth the trouble, said Alan Niebel, president of Web-Feet Research.
Time will tell for the NOR vendor. Spansion said last year it planned to emerge from bankruptcy in the first quarter of 2010. But last week--when it missed that deadline--Spansion said that the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware issued a decision regarding Spansion's reorganization plan that sets aside a number of objections to the plan and provides guidance on the remaining issues.
The plan was also rejected after creditors ''complained that incentives that the flash memory maker proposed to award employees were too generous,'' according to a report from Reuters.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Carey in Wilmington, Delaware said Spansion's Chapter 11 plan ''was defective because Spansion did not reserve $4.23 million to cover a possible claim by chip technology provider Tessera Technologies Inc. in a patent infringement lawsuit,'' according to Reuters.
Spansion said it would address the court's remaining issues in order to obtain confirmation of the plan and a successful emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as quickly as possible.
If or when Spansion emerges from Chapter 11, the company may take several paths. Spansion ''will continue as a smaller entity focused on the embedded NOR market with an aim to re-list on the NASDAQ in the future,'' said Gregory Wong, an analyst with Forward Insights.
One analyst agreed. ''Spansion was a $1.406 billion company in 2009. It will be hard for them to break this number in 2010, so they will languish at $1.25 billion,'' said Niebel of Web-Feet Research. ''I believe they have some tricks up their sleeve in the embedded and serial flash area.''
''When they come out of bankruptcy their creditors will all become shareholders of a private firm. This should happen soon,'' said Jim Handy, an analyst with Objective-Analysis. ''They have groomed themselves into a profitable company. They ought to be able to continue in that direction.''
Spansion has recently jettisoned some units to focus on the embedded and related NOR markets. The moves were also aimed for the company to become profitable.
Spansion recently said that Japan's Elpida Memory Inc. acquired a portion of its research and development assets, but declined to provide further details, including the value of the deal. Elpida may have acquired Spansion's MirrorBit NAND technology, according to an analyst.
And for months, there have been persistent rumors that Spansion is dropping EcoRAM, as the ''green memory'' technology has not lived up to its promises.