Attorney General Rowe Announces $90 Million Antitrust Settlement In Price Fixing Conspiracy

February 6, 2007

Attorney General Steve Rowe today announced a $90 million nationwide settlement with Samsung Semiconductor, Inc. and Samsung Electronics Company Ltd., resolving allegations that Samsung and most of the industry's other leading computer chip manufacturers fixed the prices of Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM). DRAM is a type of computer chip used in all personal computers, servers, workstations and many other electronic devices. The money paid is restitution for consumers and State and local government agencies that paid more for computers and other electronic devices because of the price-fixing. Samsung admits no wrong-doing in the settlement, which is subject to court approval. Under the settlement's terms, Samsung has also agreed to strong injunctive relief that will require the company to refrain from conduct that could substantially lessen competition. Samsung will also cooperate with the states in continuing litigation against the other DRAM manufacturers.

"Over the years, this price fixing scheme impacted tens of thousands of Maine consumers. While its impact can never be erased, this settlement helps to right a wrong perpetrated against the people of Maine." Rowe said.

Maine and 38 other states continue to pursue their lawsuit in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, seeking money for consumers and government agencies who paid higher prices for electronics from 1998 to 2002 as a result of alleged price-fixing by at least seven more companies including: Elpida Memory, Inc.; Hynix Semiconductor, Inc.; Infineon Technologies, AG; Micron Technology, Inc.; Mosel Vitelic, Inc.; Nanya Technology Corporation and NEC Electronics America, Inc. The states' suit follows a federal criminal investigation that exposed a scheme in which DRAM manufacturers coordinated the prices that they charged to original computer manufacturers; those overcharges were then passed on to consumers. Samsung, Hynix, Infineon, Elpida and numerous individuals have pleaded guilty to federal criminal price-fixing charges and collectively paid more than $730 million in fines.