China’s state-owned Tsinghua Unigroup plans to submit an offer to buy U.S. chipmaker Micron Technology for $21 a share or $23 billion, according to Dow Jones.
If the deal goes through, it would be the biggest Chinese takeover of a U.S. company, dwarfing the $7 billion takeover of Smithfield Foods by Shuanghui International in May 2013.
Dow Jones, which initially said on Tuesday that the bid had been made, later reported Tsinghua had prepared an offer that, at $21 per share, represented a 19.3 percent premium to the Micron’s close on Monday.
A Micron spokesman told Reuters that the Idaho-based firm had not received a takeover offer from Tsinghua. Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported an interview with Tsinghua chairman Zhao Weiguo, in which he said the Chinese company was “very interested in cooperation” with Micron.
Micron shares have performed poorly this year, down almost 50 percent since January 1, on concerns around demand for dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chips amid a slowdown in the PC market. The Idaho-based firm is the last remaining U.S. producer of DRAMs, Dow Jones said.
Beijing-based Tsinghua, the country’s largest government-owned chip design company, has been on the hunt for opportunities in the U.S. technology sector. In May, the company purchased a $2.3 billion majority stake in Hewlett Packard’s Chinese server, storage and technology unit.
Tsinghua’s potential purchase of Micron is regarded as a strategic move to help the advancement of China’s own chip sector. The country currently has no major home-grown memory makers, according to Reuters.
Song Myung-sup, an analyst at HI Investment and Securities, told the newswire: “China’s aggressive investment can expand the rival company Micro’s capex, if the deal is reached.”
The prospect of a resurgent Micron caused shares in South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix to fall by almost 6 percent in response.
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The announcement of the takeover bid comes just hours after billionaire hedge fund manager David Einhorn said in an investor letter that Micron Technology would be worth more than Netflix within the next few years.
“Our long-term outlook is that sometime in the next few years, MU … will be worth more than NFLX,” Einhorn said. “It’s a contrarian view, but we don’t think the movie is over.”