SAN FRANCISCO—Micron Technology Inc.'s move to acquire bankrupt Japanese DRAM vendor Elpida Memory Inc. is a bold move that carries risk, particularly if the integration and technology transfer does not go smoothly, according to market research firm IHS iSuppli.
"Several key components make the Micron-Elpida deal appear to be a smart move, but integration could prove challenging or even messy if details are not worked out carefully enough," said Mike Howard, senior principal analyst for DRAM and memory at IHS, in a statement.
"Micron’s previous acquisitions in years past of specialty memory makers Numonyx and Inotera presented unanticipated surprises, and in some ways Micron is still digesting those purchases," Howard said. "Adding Elpida to the mix is unlikely to hasten the rest of the complicated integration process that Micron still needs to do with its earlier buyouts."
IHS said the acquisition is expected to boost Micron's DRAM production to 370,000 wafer starts per month over the long term, up 131 percent from 160,000 wafer starts prior to the purchase. The additional capacity will make Micron the No. 2 player in DRAM, leapfrogging SK Hynix Inc. and continuing to trail Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., according to IHS. Samsung has about 400,000 DRAM wafer starts per month, while Hynix has about 300,000, according to IHS.
IHS warned that the transfer of technology entailed by the deal with Elpida—a competitor on roughly the same scale as Micron—may prove costly and time consuming.
"All this means that while Micron has put a tremendous amount of work into the acquisition, the real work lies ahead, IHS believes," Howard said.