Tag: memory

Another player signs up for a load of old Tosh

US private equity outfit KKR & Co and Japanese government-backed fund, Innovation Network of Japan (INCJ) have announced that they will send a joint offer for Toshiba’s memory chip unit.

They are the latest to throw their hat into the ring to buy the memory chip unit, which Tosh is flogging off to cover charges at its US nuclear business, Westinghouse.

KKR is expected to take part next month in a second bidding round after performing due diligence on Toshiba’s memory chip business, the Nikkei report said.

INCJ could invest in the Toshiba business if it made sense, Japan’s industry and trade minister had said on Wednesday. The Japanese are concerned about Japanese companies being flogged off overseas.

Toshiba has so far narrowed the field of bidders to four: Western Digital, Broadcom, South Korea’s SK Hynix and Foxconn.

SK Hynix in talks to buy Tosh’s memory chip business

South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix is in talks with Japanese financial investors about forming a consortium and jointly bidding for Toshiba’s memory chip business.

According to the Korea Economic Daily which found it difficult to get anyone to talk on the record, SK Hynix, the world’s No. 2 memory chip maker behind Samsung plans to give a preliminary bid for the Toshiba chip business today.

The Japanese firm put up the business for sale because it needs the cash to deal with its $6.3 billion writedown caused by the fact that invested in a bankrupt nuclear unit Westinghouse. Tosh has applied to bankrupt Westinghouse and write off its assets.

Tosh’s memory business has been doing well and would make a good partner for SK Hynix if it can gather together enough readies to buy it.

Memory chips destined to be a load of old Tosh

ToshibaToshiba has approved plans to make its core memory chip business a separate company and seek outside investment for it.

The company is desperately trying to avoid being crippled by an upcoming multi-billion-dollar write-down for its US nuclear business.

The proceeds are set to cover part of the charge for cost overruns at a newly acquired US power plant construction business which is thought to be about $6 billion.

Toshiba’s memory chip business is its crown jewel, accounting for the bulk of its operating profit.

Toshiba is looking to sell roughly 20 percent and potential investors include private equity firms, business partner Western Digital Corp and the government-backed Development Bank of Japan, sources have said.

It wants to complete the sale by the end of the financial year in March to stop shareholder equity from being wiped out by the charge.

However, the move is seen as a band-aid for the sick company as the NAND business is the only one with value, as it makes up all of the semi-conductor profits, which comprise 75 percent of the overall company’s profit.

Even if the deal pans out Tosh will probably have to sell more bits of the company in the future.

A raft of private equity funds, including Silver Lake and Permira, have signed non-disclosure agreements with Toshiba, sources said.

Western Digital, which operates a NAND plant in Japan with Toshiba, may seem like a natural buyer of a large stake in the chip business, a sale might be difficult to pull off before March as it would attract a lot of snuffling from anti-trust watchdogs.

Toshiba estimates the value of its memory chip business at $9-13 billion.

Toshiba Chief Executive Satoshi Tsunakawa recently told the company’s main creditors of its plans and that Tosh will flog off other businesses.

Japanese business weekly Toyo Keizai reported that Terry Gou, chief executive of Foxconn, the world’s largest contract electronics maker, is interested in either taking a stake in or buying some of Toshiba’s businesses.

SK Hynix expands memory chip operations

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SK Hynix is investing $2.7 billion in its home country and China to boost memory chip production.

There is a bit of a boom in demand for memory chips and Hynix wants to take advantage of that.

Most of the investment will build a new plant to make NAND flash chips used for long-term data storage.

A spokes Hynix said that to grow further, it is important to secure production facilities in advance to deal with NAND Flash market growth to be led by 3D NAND solutions.

Cash will be spent on the NAND chip plant which will be in South Korea, and a big chunk to boost DRAM capacity at its existing facilities at Wuxi, China.
Analysts think strong demand for memory chips will likely continue in 2017 as it will take several years for capacity spending announced by key players to yield meaningful production growth.

Supply will also be constrained as chipmakers shift to new production methods. In the NAND market, many manufacturers are converting existing production lines to high-end 3D NAND technology.

Adesto Technologies Launches IoTs Memory

Adesto-Logo

Sunnyvale, CA – Adesto Technologies is introducing an ultra-low power memory solution with the ability to aid in the design of Internet-of-Things (IoT) applications that can run for years on a single battery.

Adesto also announced that the new 45nm based CBRAM Products will be manufactured by TowerJazz Panasonic Semiconductor Company  (TPSCo), 300mm, Hokuriku, Japan Fab.

There’s much to like with their selection of “Moneta” for the branding name. Moneta is the goddess of memory and money – also prosperity and finances. In fact the English word “Money” derives from this lovely goddess’s name.

Adesto went public last October on the NASDAQ Exchange with the call letters IOTS, a straight forward play on the companies intentions. Long thought a takeover target by many analysts the company seems to have convinced acquisition suitors that they are much better off by leaving Adesto an independent entity – this gives the company the ability to adapt their Resistive Conductive-Bridging Random Access Memory (CBRAM) to a multiplicity of special design requirements for the rapidly expanding IoTs segment. Adesto, in effect, has been able to dodge the takeover bullet by being much more useful by remaining small while offering their products through multiple avenues from discrete devices through BEOL SoCs.

Adesto, having completed their developmental stage, is now transitioning to the commercialization and expansion phase of their technology. Several analysts expect that the company will continue to capture a significant portion of the non-volatile memory outside of the commodity data storage market and enjoy profitable royalty licensing from a number of other markets.

The newly introduced memory is entering “…, a hardware landscape (that) is changing quickly,” according to Narbeh Derhacobian, chief executive officer of Adesto. “Off the-shelf memory products were appropriate for the smartphone and PC markets, but they cannot satisfy the requirements of a new world of connected things. Unless we can dramatically reduce power consumption, the cost of changing batteries will prevent the IoT from becoming a reality. At Adesto, we are focused on this emerging market, and Moneta demonstrates our ability to execute and deliver next-generation products to meet its requirements.”

Adesto is a case book example of a company that has been “tinkering away” with a technology that the greater market paid little attention to. Gaining traction has been a continuing mantra of Adesto’s management. Along the way they gathered a number of “Black Swan Outliers” helping them to steer their way to, and carve out an unoccupied niche in the ultra-low power, non-volatile memory for the Internet-of-Things market – a market that is now enjoying a sudden and near explosive growth rate. Let us all remember that there is no such thing as an “easy” technology.

Intel speeds up SSD market

Intel bus - Wikimedia CommonsA report said that chip giant Intel will release a new SSD technology in the third quarter of this year which will speed access by seven times.

According to market research company Trendforce, Intel dubs the technology Optane and is a non volatile memory technology.

Trendforce believes the introduction will rattle its competitors including Samsung. Intel will release Optane, which uses a technology called 3D Xpoint, coincidentally with its next generation CPU, Kaby Lake.

Optane SSDs are seven times faster in input and output, and eight times faster for read latency. The products will be released to both high end servers and for PPCs.

The CPU, Kaby Lake, will support the new memory technology.

But the SSDs aren’t going to cheap as chips, at least at first.

DRAM revenues dropped in the third quarter

Samsung DRAMOver production of dynamic random access memory (DRAM) fell in the third quarter by 1.2 percent – bucking the trend usually followed in the quarter.

Manufacturers are moving production from PCs to server and mobile memory because of stable prices and higher margins, according to analysts at DRAM Exchange.

The share of mobile DRAM, used in smartphones, rose from 33.7 percent in the second calendar quarter of this year to 40 percent in the third quarter.

However, according to Avril Wu, an assistant vice president at DRAM Exchange, said that oversupply will continue for quite some time and DRAM prices are expected to fall in the immediate future.

The two Korean giants – Samsung and Hynix – continued to have similar operating margins in the third quarter compared to the second quarter – that is to say 47 percent and 28 percent respectively.

However, Micron, the only USA DRAM manufacturer, saw its profits margin drop to 15 percent during the third quarter.

Microsoft blamed for falling RAM prices

Samsung DRAMSoftware giant Microsoft giving Windows 10 away for free is being blamed for the slump in RAM prices.

You can pick up a DDR3 module for an average $18.50 per 4GB and prices appear to be headed downwards.

Many DRAM makers are blaming Microsoft. Normally when a new operating system is released, it normally drives a big upsurge in new system buys and upgrades. But Windows 10, like every operating system release since Windows 7 has not needed new hardware. Vole released it for free so people just installed it on their existing machines.

DRAMexchange’s Avril Wu said that notebook shipments in the third quarter fell short of what is expected for a traditional peak season mainly because Windows 10 with its free upgrade plan negatively impacted replaced sales of notebooks to some extent rather than driving the demand for these products.

That would be fine if was just Windows-based systems that haven’t been selling as well. Smartphones and server shipments are predicted to tumble over the next year too.

This will mean more price cuts which will make it difficult for anyone to make much cash from making RAM.

SK Hynix, Micron and Samsung are hoping that the move to 18nm standards sooner will give them some margins to play with.

DRAM prices fell in September

Samsung DRAMSales of DRAM for notebooks and PCs continued to show a downturn during September, which is good news for buyers and bad news for the vendors.

DRAM Exchange, which tracks memory prices, said that part of the reason for the underlying decline is that notebook shipments in the third quarter didn’t reach expectations, with the Windows 10 free upgrade hitting potential sales of new notebooks.

Analyst VP Avril Wu said that sales of both smartphones and servers aren’t great. “This seriously eroded the margins of DRAM suppliers,” she said. “If the global economy continues to stagnate, the end market will not generate the demand needed to effectively consume the new DRAM chips produced on advanced processes.”

She predicted that prices will continue decline in the first half of next year, and the decline will be “more severe than the current slide”.

The DRAM market continues to be dominated by Samsung, SK Hynix and Micron and they moving production of the chips to 17 nanometres, meaning higher densities and better power efficiency.

Samsung will start producing 18 nanometre technology chips next year, and is ahead of the other two players.

Memory maker Micron does well

BN-JJ273_0713MI_P_20150713201819The cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street have emerged screaming from their marble-tiled toilets in shock after it emerged that the memory chip maker Micron had done better than expected.

Micron Technology reported a lower than expected fall in quarterly revenue and that industry breathed a shy of relief. The company’s shares rose as much 8.3 percent.

The company predicted a revenue of $3.35 billion-$3.6 billion for the current quarter, well below analysts’ average expectation of $3.73 billion.

But the DRAM and NAND flash maker reported a 14.8 percent fall in revenue to $3.60 billion in the fourth quarter, compared with a year earlier. Analysts thought that would be $3.55 billion.

Micron said it expects the demand environment to stabilise and improve in 2016.

Micron said net income attributable to the company fell 59 percent to $471 million. Excluding items, the company earned 37 cents per share, trumping analysts’ estimates of 32 cents per share.

Micron is currently being chased by China’s state-backed Tsinghua Unigroup. This little rally might make the company a little more expensive.

Tsinghua, whose unit bought a 15 percent stake in Western Digital Corp for $3.8 billion on Wednesday, has offered $23 billion for Micron. It has not heard back yet because the US is unlikely to want to let one of its companies be owned by a company it thinks will spy on it. Oddly enough, the only country to force its hardware companies to spy on rival governments has been the US.