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NEC Units Subpoenaed in U.S. Antitrust Probe

September 12, 2003|From Bloomberg News

NEC Corp., Japan's biggest maker of personal computers, said Thursday that two of its U.S. units received subpoenas as part of a Justice Department antitrust investigation of memory chip companies.

The units, Elpida Memory and NEC Electronics America, got grand jury subpoenas from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on June 19, 2002, and May 30, 2003, respectively, Tokyo-based NEC said in a regulatory filing.

Both units are based in Santa Clara, Calif.

Micron Technology Inc., Samsung Electronics Co. and Infineon Technologies, which together control 60% of memory chip sales, last year said they received requests from U.S. antitrust officials looking at whether companies manipulated prices.

A 53% drop in spot prices of dynamic random-access memory chips in two months last year led some investors to speculate that chip makers may have sold products at below-market prices to drive out smaller rivals.

"We understand that many of the companies in the U.S. DRAM industry have received similar subpoenas in connection with this investigation," NEC said in the filing.

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