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Phison boosts Kingston ties with private placement

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Phison Electronics Corp. (群聯電子), one of Taiwan's leading memory chip-makers, said Wednesday that U.S.-based counterpart Kingston Technology Corp. has agreed to participate in its private placement.

Kingston currently holds a 1.57-percent stake in Phison, according to the Taiwanese firm, but that will more than double following the move.

Phison, which specializes in NAND Flash controller production, said Kingston will buy 5 million Phison shares in the private placement in which the Taiwanese company will sell up to 50 million new shares to investors.

Kingston will pay NT$925 million (US$30.83 million) for the block of shares, or NT$185 per share. The price represents a discount of about 20 percent on the stock's average closing price of NT$230.40 in the past five trading sessions.

Phison said it expects to bring in other strategic investors through the private placement, which is scheduled be completed by June 20.

Local media reported that Micron Technology Corp. of the U.S. and Taiwan's MediaTek Inc. (聯發科) are likely to participate in Phison's private placement. The report said that if Phison sets up an alliance with one of the two IC giants, it could enter the growing tablet computer chip market in China.

Phison would not confirm the report, saying that a potential alliance with Micron or MediaTek was only market speculation. The company said it will announce its new partners after it cuts deals in the private placement.

As of yesterday, shares of Phison had fallen 1.28 percent to NT$232, off an early high of NT$240.00.

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