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Elpida stakeholders beg US courts: Stop Micron's cheap meal deal

Injured DRAMurai warrior's bondholders go Stateside to stop $2.5bn slurp

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Elpida bondholders trying to stop the sale of the wounded DRAMurai warrior to Micron have taken the fight to the US courts, claiming that the bankrupt Japanese firm has had "unauthorised" transactions in the States.

Elpida went bankrupt in February and limped around looking for a white knight before US firm Micron eventually swooped in with a $2.5bn (200bn yen, £1.6bn)) offer that the bondholders allege is unfair and doesn't value the company realistically. They want to keep Elpida running with some additional investment instead of selling it off.

Although the deal is under Japanese jurisdiction, Elpida's US assets were already under the protection of Delaware's bankruptcy court, a common move for foreign firms with operations in America. Chapter 15 allows courts there to block creditors from seizing the US assets.

The bondholders' steering committee is using the US court proceeding to try to take down the entire Micron deal by putting Elpida's American subsidiary into a separate bankruptcy proceeding there.

Yesterday, the committee filed just before a scheduled hearing to stop Elpida putting in a report on the Japanese restructuring under seal, outing the illicit dealings at the same time.

"The fact that information about the four unauthorised transactions affecting US assets subject to this court's jurisdiction might be unflattering or prejudicial does not make [the report] protectable," the filing said. "Public disclosure of these transactions is critical for stakeholders of Elpida to understand and then exercise their rights in this chapter 15 case."

The bondholders are also trying to block the Micron deal in Japan, where a Tokyo court is reviewing their plan to save Elpida as well as Micron's offer. The court will decide whether either or both of the plans is suitable to be sent to creditors for a vote. ®

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