Tsinghua Unigroup Flirts With Acquisition of DRAM Maker Micron

Chinese state owned enterprise Tsinghua Unigroup is rumored to be flirting with an acquisition of Micron Technology, the last maker of DRAM based in the United States. At the moment prevailing wisdom in the mainstream financial press appears to be that the US Treasury's "Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States" would block a sale to the state owned enterprise and if they don't the Department of Defense would likely block Tsinghua Unigroup or any Chinese firm from purchasing Micron.

The rumors and innuendo point to a 23 billion United States dollar offer for Micron's business which is reported to have a market cap around 21 billion United States dollars. As recently as December 5th shares of Micron traded for over $36 per share yet in late June shares of Micron fell from consistently trading over $25 per share to languishing at under $20 per share. This inflection in Micron's trading price and drop in market cap from 32 billion dollars at the start of the year makes it attractive to potential suitors looking to acquire a the chip maker which holds a stable and dominant position in its niche. Micron consistently has ranked in the top 10 out of all semiconductor companies by sales and after an acquisition of its own climbed to 4th place in sales for the year 2013.

In the extraordinarily nationalized world of semiconductor manufacturing it is unlikely that Micron will go to a Chinese suitor, its depressed trading price makes it vulnerable to acquisition by Intel or another politically favored firm in the United States. With the recent financial turmoil in China the window for any Chinese firm outside of state owned enterprises like Tsinghua Unigroup to acquire Micron is going to be vanishingly small. If Chinese markets destabilize too much further it may even become impossible for Tsinghua Unigroup to continue credibly bidding for ownership of Micron, even with their privileged access to the RMB printing press.

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