Shares of Micron Technology Inc. (Nasdaq: MU), the only U.S. maker of memory chips, jumped as much as 9 percent Wednesday on a report that Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), the world's most valuable technology company, had placed a huge order in Japan.
In late trading, Micron shares were at $6.22, up 19 cents, or 3.3 percent, after earlier hitting $6.53. The company's market capitalization is $6.2 billion.
Micron, based in Boise, Idaho, has won a Japan bankruptcy auction to acquire assets of Elpida Memory, the Japanese maker of dynamic random-access memory chips.
Apple placed the order with Elpida for DRAMs for MacPros and iPads for later in 2012, analyst Hans Mosesmann, of Raymond James, said. That likely ensures ties between Apple, of Cupertino, Calif., and Micron, will increase.
Indeed, the deal could become even bigger over time because Micron and Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), the No. 1 chipmaker, recently upgraded their IM Flash Technology joint venture to make thinner NAND flash memory chips, which could be inserted into future models of the iPhone.
For Apple, the Elpida order would lessen dependence upon a bitter rival, South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. (Seoul: 005930), which is the world's biggest DRAM maker and key Apple supplier.
Micron last month sold convertible senior notes valued at $1 billion. The semiconductor maker also reported cash and investments of $2.09 billion when its second quarter ended on March 2.
The cash is intended for general purposes, which could include Elpida. Micron has said it wants to acquire the failed Japanese company but hasn't yet specified how it will pay its creditors or restructure its plants.
Elpida was created by merging the DRAM lines of NEC Corp. (Tokyo: 6701), Hitachi Ltd. (Tokyo: 6501) and Mitsubishi Electric Corp. (Tokyo: 6723), once global DRAM prices fell sharply.