Shares of Elpida Memory rose more than 7 percent in early trade on Wednesday after the Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes said the troubled chipmaker may merge with Toshiba.

The report is the latest in a series about possible survival plans for Japan's last remaining player in the dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) market, as it battles tumbling prices and loss of market share to South Korea's better-funded giants.

Japan's Asahi newspaper said last month Elpida was considering asking to delay paying back 30 billion yen ($391 million) in public funds after its earnings were hit by the European debt crisis.

A separate report said Elpida would start tie-up talks with Taiwan's Nanya Technology Corp with a view to a possible merger.

Toshiba shares fell 1 percent in early trade.

An Elpida spokesman said he was aware of the DigiTimes report, but declined to comment. No one at Toshiba was immediately available for comment.

(Reporting by Dominic Lau and Isabel Reynolds; Editing by Chris Gallagher)