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Toshiba May Bid Against Micron for Elpida, Nikkei Reports

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Toshiba May Bid Against Micron to Sponsor Elpida, Nikkei Says
A Toshiba Corp. 24 nanometer (nm) NAND flash wafer sits on display in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. Toshiba announced its withdrawal from making DRAM in 2001 to focus more on making NAND flash memory chips. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

March 30 (Bloomberg) -- Toshiba Corp., the world’s second-largest maker of flash memory, will bid against Micron Technology Inc. to become the sponsor of Japan’s failed chipmaker Elpida Memory Inc., the Nikkei newspaper said.

Toshiba may seek assistance from the government-backed Enterprise Turnaround Initiative Corp. of Japan, the Nikkei reported, without saying where it got the information.

Elpida, which filed for bankruptcy protection last month, will choose a sponsor in early May after two rounds of bids, the report said. Boise, Idaho-based Micron has been in talks with Tokyo-based Elpida since the end of last year and is considered a leading candidate, the report said.

Elpida, the last Japanese maker of dynamic random access memory, or DRAM, filed for bankruptcy with liabilities of 448 billion yen ($5.4 billion) on Feb. 27. Falling prices and a stronger yen exacerbated the company’s troubles after it received financial support from the government and lenders in 2009. The chipmaker, whose customers include Apple Inc., was delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange on March 28.

Toshiba wasn’t the source of the Nikkei report, the Tokyo-based electronics maker said in a statement to the Tokyo Stock Exchange today. Kaori Hiraki, a spokeswoman for Toshiba, declined to elaborate beyond the statement. Calls to Elpida’s public relations staff weren’t immediately answered.

Toshiba announced its withdrawal from making DRAM in 2001 to focus more on making NAND flash memory chips. Elpida was formed through the 1999 merger of NEC Corp.’s and Hitachi Ltd.’s memory businesses.

To contact the reporters on this story: Naoko Fujimura in Tokyo at nfujimura@bloomberg.net; Takashi Amano in Tokyo at tamano6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Tighe at mtighe4@bloomberg.net

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