23 May 2007

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Intel and STMicro form flash firm

Intel, the world’s largest chipmaker, and European rival STMicroelectronics are merging their flash memory businesses into a new company, BBC News reported yesterday.
It is not yet known whether this move will affect production and labour levels at the ST plant in Malta based in Kirkop.
Intel and STMicro have been looking for a partner after sales of their flash memory chips came under pressure.
The private equity group Francisco Partners will pay $150m (£76m) for a 6.3% stake in the new company. Flash memory is used in devices such as mobile phones, MP3 digital music players and digital cameras.
STMicroelectronics shares rose more than 5% in Paris following the announcement, while Intel shares were up more than 1% on Nasdaq.
The two main types of flash memory are called NAND and NOR.
NAND chips are used to store pictures on digital cameras and music on MP3 players, while NOR chips are used to store the software and operating systems on devices such as mobile phones.
Intel has already spun off its NAND flash memory unit into a joint venture with Micron Technology, and says it is still committed to that business.
The new company will own its NOR memory assets, in addition to STMicro’s business in both types of memory.

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