* Defendants request 2-month delay -source
* Rambus down 8.1 pct, Micron up 2 pct
* Rambus option volume jumps to four times norm
(Adds analyst comments, options; updates shares)
By Ian Sherr
SAN FRANCISCO, Jan 13 Shares of memory chip
designer Rambus Inc (RMBS.O) fell 8.1 percent on Wednesday on
fears the company's antitrust trial might be delayed for two
The trial, due to start in January, is pivotal for Rambus,
and could involve up to $12.9 billion in damages. The Los
Altos-based chip designer has accused Samsung Electronics Co
Ltd (005930.KS), Micron Technology Inc (MU.O) and Hynix
Semiconductor Inc (000660.KS) of colluding to fix prices,
hurting sales of Rambus' RDRAM memory chips for computers.
It was not immediately clear which of the defendants
requested the delay, nor why, but a source familiar with the
matter told Reuters that a pretrial motion by Micron
Technologies had asked to delay the trial for two months.
The motion will be considered at a Jan. 21 hearing in San
Francisco, the source added.
"The potential delay in the trial has the stock under
pressure," said chief investment strategist Jud Pyle at the
Options News Network www.ONN.tv.
Court documents, partly redacted, showed that Micron
Technologies sought a continuance, or delay, of the trial for
an unspecified amount of time.
Rambus options volume was four times greater than its
average daily turnover, with about 77,000 calls and 51,000 puts
traded, according to option analytics firm Trade Alert.
The January puts and calls with strike prices ranging from
$21 to $24 attracted brisk activity as some investors reacted
to the stock's volatility and others were likely closing out
positions ahead of this week's January expiration, said
WhatsTrading.com option strategist Frederic Ruffy.
January options go off the board on Friday after the close.
The stock's option implied volatility, a key driver of an
options price, fell 9 percent to 88 percent, Ruffy said.
Rambus stock often swings on legal news. Most notably,
shares jumped 9 percent when a blog post that claimed to be
from Rambus' former general counsel, John Danforth, speculated
that Micron might settle the case.[ID:nN09275922] Then the
stock shot up again when Rambus published a statement that it
saw the trial on track. [ID:nN23271548]
Shares of the Los Altos-based company fell $1.89, or 8.12
percent, to close at $21.40 while shares of Micron rose 20
cents, or 1.95 percent, to $10.46 on the Nasdaq.
(Reporting by Ian Sherr, Gina Keating and Doris Frankel;
Editing by Phil Berlowitz, Gary Hill)