Micron Technology (Nasdaq: MU ) just took a huge step toward owning bankrupt memory-chip rival Elpida.
A handful of Elpida's debt holders disapproved of Micron's $2.5 billion bid, arguing that the company was worth at least 50% more. The investor group drummed up financing for an alternative offer, and Japanese regulators have been mulling over the competing plans since August.
A district court in Tokyo just approved Micron's reorganization plan for Elpida, which also amounts to approving the buyout bid. The other plan was also considered, but the court decided not to move it forward to the next step, which is approval by Elpida's creditors.
The deal is still not a total slam dunk for Micron, given that the very people who object to the American buyout also have a say in the next rung of the buyout process. But the court's decision is still a big step in the right direction, and removes some uncertainty from the bidding war.
I'm saying "the right direction" here, because buying Elpida is a potential game changer for Micron.
Adding Elpida's considerable bulk would make Micron the second-largest memory maker in the world (and no, number one is definitely not Kodak!). That would give Micron considerable pricing power, since a very large chunk of the global memory-chip manufacturing capacity would be under the company's exclusive control.
Elpida is also a major supplier of memory products to the mobile industry, which, arguably, is the future of computing, and an area that Micron hasn't really conquered on its own. This deal would add Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) to Micron's customer list, and would also give Micron a large foothold in the Android ecosystem. Micron's management team is even excited about Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT ) Windows 8 phones driving growth in its mobile memory segment.
Yeah, this is a very big deal. We Micron shareholders sure hope it jumps over all the legal and regulatory hurdles sooner rather than later.
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