Two paths were taken by chipmakers Intel in 2008. Intel continued manufacturing its chips, while AMD spun off its semiconductor business, GlobalFoundries. This allowed it to rely on other manufacturers for the actual silicon. Intel plans to acquire AMD’s old fabs in a deal worth up to $30 billion.
The WSJ article makes it clear that the deal is not a certainty. GlobalFoundries explicitly denied that they were in negotiations with Intel. The WSJ suggests that Intel may be negotiating with GlobalFoundries’ investment firm. It is also interesting that the Journal does not have an “no comment” form Intel — this can sometimes be a sign that a company has commented, either off-the-record or deep in the background.
Intel is pushing fabs across multiple fronts
Intel may want GlobalFoundries for obvious reasons. It is actually expanding its foundry business. To turn around the failing company, Intel’s new CEO Pat Gelsinger declared in March that it would not be able to do everything alone. He agreed to outsource more of its chip production and to use third-party foundries. Also, he will produce more chips for other companies by using its own foundries. And he will also invest in new fabs. It was worth $20 billion to invest in new Arizona facilities, but it may take years before new buildings can be constructed and re-engineered.
It seems like the #4 global foundry (according TrendForce) is up for grabs. This foundry accounts for 7 percent revenue of all foundry businesses. Although it won’t place Intel on the same level as TSMC and Samsung, which together account for approximately 74 percent of global foundry revenue, it would be a good start.