Infineon in Talks to Sell Stake in DRAM Maker Qimonda

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Infineon Technologies is in talks to sell its 77.5 percent stake in DRAM maker Qimonda AG, a company representative confirmed Tuesday.

"We are currently talking with financial investors and interested companies from the industry on a sale," Infineon CEO Peter Bauer said in an interview with German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung. "There are no taboos: a total sale is possible as well as a minority share. We are currently examining several options. I do not want to speculate about the time frame."

Günter Gaugler, senior director of media relations at Infineon, confirmed the accuracy of the statements as reported by the newspaper.

Discussions of a sale comes amid a chip glut in the DRAM market that has nearly all DRAM makers selling the chips at below the cost of production.

Qimonda, for one, has reported a net loss of €1.48 billion (US$2.33 billion) over the past nine months. The numbers have been even worse for Infineon, since it has to take charges based on the decreased value of its stake in Qimonda as well as its part in Qimonda's losses. These charges have totaled over €2.0 billion for Infineon for the first six months of this calendar year.

Qimonda's stake in a joint venture with Taiwan's Nanya Technology is also for sale. The joint venture, Inotera Memories, operates some of the most advanced DRAM factories in the world.

There has been speculation that either Nanya Technology or its new joint venture partner, Micron Technology of the U.S., might be readying a deal to buy Inotera.

Nanya Technology representatives did not return phone calls for comment, and a Micron representative declined to comment.

A sale of Qimonda or its assets could come at any time, and Infineon appears to be in a hurry to get rid of the company.

"We are working with the utmost urgency on the question of how we can conclude the Qimonda chapter as quickly as possible in the best interests of us and Qimonda," Bauer told the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

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