6 Companies Owned by Micron

DRAM and other memory chip-manufacturing companies, and AI hardware and software

Micron Technology Inc. (MU) designs and designs and manufactures memory and storage products for a variety of applications, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and 5G, as well as for key markets, including mobile, data center, and graphics. The company, which is headquartered in Boise, Idaho, was first founded in 1978 as a semiconductor design company composed of four employees.

In the mid-1980s, Micron introduced the world’s smallest 256K dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) product and became a publicly traded company. It was named a Fortune 500 company in 1994 and has since become one of the largest memory producers in the world, with a market capitalization of $88.4 billion as of July 14, 2021. The company reported net income of $2.7 billion on revenue of $21.4 billion during its 2020 fiscal year (FY), which ended Sept. 3, 2020.

Micron’s growth over its more-than-40-year history comes from the firm’s own internal innovations as well as from strategic acquisitions, including Toshiba’s commodity DRAM operations, Lexar Media Inc., Tidal Systems Inc., and more. Those acquisitions have helped it to boost its manufacturing capacity, operational efficiency, and product diversity. As the data center and computing industries have shifted toward AI, Micron has also made acquisitions in line with that trend.

Below, we look in more detail at six of Micron’s most important acquisitions. The company does not provide a breakdown of how much profit or revenue each acquisition currently contributes.

Elpida Memory Inc.

  • Type of business: DRAM integrated circuit manufacturer
  • Acquisition price: $2.5 billion
  • Acquisition date: July 31, 2013 (completed)

Japan-based Elpida Memory was formed in 1999 when NEC Corp. (6701) and Hitachi Ltd. (6501) merged their DRAM operations. By 2012, Elpida had become the third-largest producer in the global DRAM market, behind Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (005930) and SK Hynix Inc. (000660). But amid a persistent global glut in DRAM chips and slumping prices, the company filed for bankruptcy in early 2012. It was the largest Japan-based manufacturer to ever file for bankruptcy.

Later in 2012, Micron announced that it had entered an agreement to acquire the bankrupt firm. In mid-2013, Micron closed the deal, paying $2.5 billion for Elpida, which had built a strong presence in the DRAM market for mobile phones and tablets. The deal boosted Micron’s manufacturing capacity by about 45%, making it the second-largest producer of DRAM chips behind Samsung Electronics.

Numonyx B.V.

  • Type of business: Memory chip manufacturer
  • Acquisition price: Approximately $1.2 billion
  • Acquisition date: May 7, 2010 (completed)

Switzerland-based Numonyx was formed in 2008 as a result of a joint spinoff by Intel Corp. (INTC) and STMicroelectronics N.V. (STM). Intel sold its unprofitable NOR flash memory business to the new venture in exchange for a 45% stake. STMicroelectronics sold both its NOR and NAND businesses to the new company for a 49% stake. Private equity firm Francisco Partners invested $150 million for the remaining 6% stake.

Following the spinoff, the newly formed Numonyx became the world’s leading supplier of NOR flash chips. Two years later, Numonyx was acquired by Micron in an all-stock transaction paid to Intel, STMicroelectronics, and Francisco Partners. The deal provided Micron with Numonyx’s portfolio that included NOR, NAND, and RAM chips, boosting Micron’s revenue, customer base, and production capability. The acquisition also enabled Micron to better compete with Samsung by offering products called multi-chip packages (MCPs), which are semiconductors built with a combination of different memory chips.

Inotera Memories Inc.

  • Type of business: Memory chip manufacturer
  • Acquisition price: $4.0 billion
  • Acquisition date: Dec. 6, 2016 (completed)

Taiwan-based Inotera Memories, which specializes in the manufacture of DRAM products, was formed in 2003 as a joint venture between Nanya Technology Corp. and Infineon Technologies AG (IFX). Infineon’s original 33% stake was then acquired by Micron in 2008.

By the end of 2015, Micron was already purchasing all of Inotera’s output, accounting for approximately 35% (at that time) of Micron’s DRAM production. A year later, Micron acquired the remaining 67% (at that time) stake for approximately $4.0 billion. Micron said that it expected the acquisition to enhance its operational efficiency and be immediately accretive to its DRAM gross margins.

Texas Instruments Inc.’s memory chip business

  • Type of business: Memory chip manufacturing
  • Acquisition price: $800 million
  • Acquisition date: June 19, 1998

Texas Instruments Inc. (TXN) first established its semiconductor division in the early 1950s. During the 1970s, the company’s semiconductor business continued to grow, especially after beginning to manufacture DRAM chips in 1973. The company then experienced several periods of severe price pressure and industry downturns.

By the first quarter of 1998, Texas Instruments’ memory chips, once the company’s largest semiconductor product, were losing money. In June of that year, the company sold the memory chips business to Micron for $800 million as part of a restructuring that included the layoff of 3,500 employees. The deal provided Micron with additional manufacturing capacity without significantly increasing costs related to research and development, administration, and certain operating costs.

IM Flash Technologies LLC

  • Type of business: Memory chip manufacturer
  • Acquisition price: Approximately $1.5 billion (announced)
  • Acquisition date: Oct. 31, 2019 (completed)

IM Flash Technologies was founded in 2006 as a joint venture between Micron and Intel, with each company contributing about $1.2 billion to create the new entity. The company was created to combine the strengths of both Micron and Intel in manufacturing NAND flash memory chips for use in consumer electronics and mobile communication devices. In 2015, IM Flash began manufacturing its new proprietary technology known as 3D XPoint, a class of chip many times faster than NAND flash memory chips and capable of storing more data than DRAM chips.

In January 2019, Micron announced that it was exercising its call option to acquire the remaining interest in IM Flash from Intel. Micron said the purchase enables Micron to accelerate its research and development (R&D) and optimize its manufacturing plan for the 3D XPoint chip.

FWDNXT Inc.

  • Type of business: AI hardware and software
  • Acquisition price: Undisclosed
  • Acquisition date: Oct. 24, 2019

FWDNXT was launched in 2017 as an AI tech company with a machine-learning product known as Inference Engine. Micron acquired the company for an undisclosed amount in 2019, announcing that the Inference Engine would be combined with advanced Micron memory.

The product is now known as Micron AI Inference Engine. This product is primarily used to facilitate deep learning solutions required for data analytics, especially in the Internet of Things (IoT) and edge computing, and allowed Micron to integrate a variety of tools and software into a single AI development platform.

Article Sources
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  6. EE Times. “NEC, Hitachi to Merge DRAM Operations.”

  7. The New York Times. “In Japan, Bankruptcy for a Builder of PC Chips.”

  8. Micron Technology. “Micron Announces Closing of Numonyx Acquisition.”

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  10. The New York Times. “Intel to Form a Flash Memory Venture With a Swiss Company.”

  11. Bloomberg. “High Hopes for an Intel-STMicro Spin-Off.”

  12. Micron Technology. “Micron Announces Agreement to Acquire Numonyx.”

  13. The Wall Street Journal. “Micron Deal Will Pressure Two Rivals.”

  14. Micron Technology. “Micron Technology Completes Acquisition of Inotera Memories of Taiwan.”

  15. Financial Times. “Micron Buys Inotera Memories in $3.2bn Deal.”

  16. The Wall Street Journal. “Micron Technology to Buy All of Taiwanese Chip Company Inotera.”

  17. Nasdaq. “Micron Technology (MU) Closes Buyout of Inotera Memories.”

  18. The Wall Street Journal. “Texas Instruments Sells Off Chip Unit To Micron Technology for $800 Million.”

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  20. The New York Times. “Texas Instruments in Gamble.”

  21. Micron Technology. “Micron Exercises Call Option to Acquire Remaining Interest in IM Flash Technologies Joint Venture.”

  22. Micron Technology. “About the IM Flash Acquisition.”

  23. Reuters. “Micron to Buy Intel’s Stake in Joint Venture IM Flash Technologies.”

  24. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. “Micron and Intel Create New Company to Manufacture NAND Flash Memory.”

  25. The Wall Street Journal. “Intel, Micron Claim Chip Breakthrough.”

  26. Micron Technology. “Micron Introduces Comprehensive AI Development Platform.”

  27. Crunchbase. “FWDNXT Inc.

  28. Micron Technology. “Micron AI Inference Engine*.”

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