Micron acquires flash memory maker Numonyx

Micron Technology has agreed to acquire flash memory maker Numonyx, adding NOR flash chips -- a memory type commonly found in mobile phones and MP3 players -- to its product lineup and expanding its manufacturing capacity

The all-stock offer to acquire Numonyx is worth US$1.27 billion, Micron said. Numonyx is jointly owned by Intel, STMicroelectronics and Francisco Partners, a private equity firm.

The Numonyx acquisition expands Micron's memory range with the addition of NOR flash chips . Micron's current product line includes DRAM and NAND flash chips, which are found in removable memory cards and solid-state drives, as well as mobile devices.

NAND flash memory and NOR flash memory are both non-volatile types of memory, which means they don't lose stored data when power is turned off. But the two memory types have different strengths, making them suitable for different applications. NOR chips have faster read capabilities, making them suitable for storing software code, while NAND chips, which offer faster write/erase capabilities and smaller memory cells, are better suited for storing large amounts of data, such as pictures or music.

Besides NOR flash, the acquisition also gives Micron access to Numonyx's phase-change memory technology. Phase-change memory is an emerging memory type that's currently under development and seen as a possible replacement for flash chips.

Micron expects to close the deal within three to six months.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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