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After Appleton: Micron Deals With Loss, Company Value, New Frontiers

On Feb. 3 shares froze at $7.95; six months later stock traded at $6.09

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Few outside of Micron know how employees at the Boise-based company marked the six-month anniversary of the death of Steve Appleton. Company officials weren't talking, at least publicly, about the tragedy. But Appleton's memory lingers long after Feb. 3, when the CEO went out for a plane ride and didn't come back.

The sudden death of Appleton, CEO since 1994, left the company in some uncertainty.

Trading was halted on Micron stock minutes before the news of his death was announced.

Shares were frozen at $7.95. Six months later, on Aug. 3, Micron stock was selling for as low as $6.09.

On June 20, the company announced that it had lost a net of $320 million in its third quarter, following a net loss of $282 million in its second quarter.

However, on July 1, Micron announced that it was poised to take over Japanese rival Elpida Memory for $750 million, in a move that would expand Micron's portfolio deeper into the world of dynamic random access memory. In addition to the $750 million cash (approximately 60 billion yen), Micron would pay 140 billion yen in upcoming annual installments to cover Elpida's debt. All in, the deal is close to $2.5 billion.

"We are creating the industry leading pure play memory company," said Micron CEO Mark Durcan. "[The] transactions will help strengthen the combined companies' market position in the memory industry through increased research and development and manufacturing scale."

Perhaps Appleton's lasting effect on Boise is greatest at his alma mater, Boise State. The Micron Foundation, founded by Appleton in 1999, announced in May that it would donate $300,000 to help start a program at Boise State to assist the next generation of teachers.

"The new program, called IDoTeach, is designed to meet a desperate need for Idaho science and math teachers," read a company statement. According to the release, the program "is designed to attract a largely untapped pool of talented college students" majoring in science, technology, engineering and math subjects into secondary education careers.

Appleton will also be remembered at the new Boise State Micron Business and Economics Building, which includes a courtyard named after the late CEO.

"We will never forget Steve's contributions to the company and the semiconductor industry at large, and of course, the great work he began to improve education and our communities," said Dee Mooney, executive director of the Micron Foundation.