The memory market could use some consolidation right about now, and one deal may be in the books before you know it. Is it time to get greedy yet?
German newspapers report that Qimonda's management doesn't have much leverage in these negotiations, so the Americans could walk away with a very favorable deal. Grab the patent portfolio, keep the production lines running to avoid paying penalties on development deals with the German government, and Micron could possibly get Qimonda for free. Zero Euros. Zilch dollars. Not a single obsolete Deutsche Mark. That's how desperately the Germans want to kick Qimonda out.
So why would Micron, of all memory makers in the world, buy this loser? Because it can afford to with $1.5 billion of cash ready to fuel operations. Because it could use the 300-mm wafer production facilities under Qimonda's belt, in order to reduce its production costs per megabit of memory. And because the entire market would reluctantly applaud another buyout -- the massive oversupply today is hurting everybody's selling prices and chances of ever turning a profit.
Let Micron grab Qimonda. Let Hynix shut down some of its production lines. Let Samsung buy SanDisk
Keep all this in mind as you make your memory-related investment decisions. This market is suffering badly, and it might take another few months to get the consolidation projects kick-started. But in the end, just a handful of much stronger players should remain, and Micron looks like a prime candidate.
This is not the bottom, but we're darn close to it. The next few years should be very rewarding for the bold investors who dare to touch Micron's stock today. Just remember to buckle your seat belts for a wild ride through hills and valleys.
Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares in Advanced Micro Devices, but he wouldn't dare to hold any other position in the other companies discussed here. You can check out Anders' holdings or a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.