Micron Technology will reportedly buy a US$500 million share stake in Japan rival Elpida Memory, according to a Chinese-language Economic Daily News (EDN) report.
The speculation came on the heels of various other media reports that Elpida would propose an equity tie-up with Micron with some decision to be made as soon as February.
Elpida has declined to comment on speculation.
Taiwan's Nanya Technology and Inotera Memories were also quoted by the Nikkei business newspaper as saying in recent reports that DRAM makers should consider uniting as such moves could contribute to the industry's sustainable development.
However, Nanya Chairman Chia Chau Wu told Reuters on Monday that he did not know of any deal between the other two companies and the company had no current intention to take part in any deal. He also declined to comment on whether Nanya would welcome any such tie-up.
All nanya, Micron and Elpida Memory companies are makers of dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chips, a market that has been hit by slumping prices in a weak economy and falling sales as consumers switch to tablets that use flash memory instead of DRAM chips.
The three companies together would become the No.2 in the market, exceeding Hynix.
Currently, Nanya and Micron have a cooperation agreement on chip manufacturing, while Elpida owns a joint venture with Taiwan's Powerchip. Nanya and Elpida are also involved in a patent lawsuit.
Swiss investment bank UBS said in a report that a possible Micron-Elpida alliance would likely have a positive impact on Samsung and Hynix by reducing competition and mitigating a global overcapacity of the dynamic random access memory (DRAM) industry.
According to market researcher IHS iSuppli, Samsung expanded its portion in the global DRAM market to a record quarterly high in the third quarter last year, accounting for 45 percent of global DRAM revenues.