About 20 bondholders of Elpida Memory, the bankrupt Japanese chipmaker, are negotiating with alternative sponsors to replace a takeover offer by Micron Technology Inc. that they consider too low, a representative said.
We are talking to both strategic and financial investors, Anthony Correa, head of Asia operations for Taconic Capital Advisors, said in a conference call with reporters. We are in the midst of gathering information from the trustee so that we can proceed with the plan.
Correa, based in Hong Kong, said he represents about 20 bondholders in Asia, Europe, and the United States with a total of 100 billion yen ($1.2 billion) in Elpida bonds. The bondholders believe Microns 200 billion-yen offer for the Apple supplier is very unfair because the company is worth 300 billion yen, and they have presented their own revival plan to creditors, he said.
Its the second time this month bondholders have publicly opposed Microns proposal to buy Elpida, a combination that would double the Boise companys share of the global market for dynamic random-access memory the most widely used memory chips in personal computers.
Elpida sought protection from creditors in February with 448 billion yen of liabilities after lower chip prices and a stronger yen eroding the value of overseas earnings prompted a fifth straight quarterly loss.
Representatives for Elpida and Micron declined to comment. Earlier this week, though, Micron CEO Mark Durcan told the Idaho Statesman that Elpida bondholders dont pose a serious threat to Microns purchase.
What the bondholders would like the Japanese courts to do is throw out the outcome of a fairly robust competitive process and start again with no assurance that the bondholders themselves have a better plan, Durcan said. I dont think anybody is likely to take ... what they have put on the table so far seriously at all."
Micron agreed to buy Elpida in July in a deal that may help Micron vie with industry leader Samsung Electronics while giving it greater control over supply gluts that have caused it to report losses amid falling prices. Micron shares are down 1.4 percent this year in New York trading, compared with a 12 percent increase in the Standard & Poors 500 Index.
Micron agreed to pay 60 billion yen in cash at the closing of the deal, while the remaining 140 billion yen in future annual installments through 2019 will come from cash flow generated by Microns payments for chips made by Elpida, according to a July 2 statement.
Micron reduced its 60 billion-yen cash offer for Elpida shares to 38 billion yen, Correa said. We have just learned about the reduction this week and are not clear on reasons.
Elpida will get 280 billion yen in support from Micron, the Asahi newspaper reported Aug. 21 without saying where it got the information. The U.S. company will buy Elpida shares for 60 billion yen to make it wholly owned in the first half of 2013 and provide 80 billion yen in loans and debt guarantees, the Asahi said, citing a revival plan submitted in Tokyo District Court.
Micron will also help Elpida generate 140 billion yen in profit by buying its chips during a seven-year period, the Asahi said.