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10/31/2006
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Brief: Feds Launch Probe Into Sony SRAM Business

The subpoena arrives as Sony struggles with a battery recall nightmare that's expected to cost it $430 million. Last year, the company was fined $300 million in a separate government probe on DRAM price fixing.

The U.S. Department of Justice's Antitrust Division has demanded information from Sony about its SRAM business, the company said Tuesday. Sony said the move appears to be part of a broader investigation into the memory chip sector.

In a press release, Tokyo-based Sony said it "has received a subpoena from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Antitrust Division seeking information about its static random access memory (SRAM) business. Sony intends to cooperate fully with the Justice Department in what appears to be an industry-wide inquiry."

The news would add to the regulatory headaches faced by Sony. Earlier this month, the company entered into a formal recall agreement with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in connection with its defective laptop batteries - part of a worldwide battery pack recall that will cost Sony about $430 million, the company said earlier this month.

No additional details were available immediately about the Justice Department's investigation. Last year, Samsung pleaded guilty and agreed to pay a $300 million fine in connection with DRAM price fixing in a separate Justice Department anti-trust matter.

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