Even though earlier this year it was reported that the talks between GlobalFoundries and IBM over the latter’s semiconductor business collapsed, a new media report claims that the two companies have finally come to an agreement. The Big Blue reportedly agreed to pay the contract maker of semiconductors for taking over its fabs.
Under the terms of the agreement, which is expected to be announced in early October, IBM will pay GlobalFoundries over $2 billion for “acquiring” its semiconductor manufacturing business, reports SemiWiki. It is unclear whether IBM also agreed to transfer its chip production patents to GlobalFoundries, but this is possible, given the fact that IBM needs to get rid of its money-losing business. The only question is whether IBM is actually willing to completely give up its extensive research and development (R&D) of semiconductor manufacturing technologies.
With IBM’s intellectual property and, possibly, R&D staff as well, GlobalFoundries could significantly expand its offerings for clients, which could eventually boost its sales and greatly improve its competitive positions.
It should be kept in mind that GlobalFoundries could face a number of difficulties acquiring IBM’s chip making unit. IBM’s 200mm facility in Burlington, Vermont, still produces certain high-end radar and other components for the U.S. government using SiGe and SOI processes, according to a media report. The U.S. authorities demand that fabs producing such chips would belong to the U.S. companies, which makes it virtually impossible to sell such facility to GlobalFoundries, which is controlled by Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala. Still, if the report is correct, then it looks like IBM, GlobalFoundries and Mubadala have managed to find a solution to the problem.
IBM and GlobalFoundries did not comment on the news-story.
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KitGuru Says: Given the amount of rumours surrounding the potential IBM-GlobalFoundries transaction, every new bit of information should be taken with a grain of salt. IBM has motives to get rid of its foundry operations, GlobalFoundries is interested in IBM’s IP. Everything else, including the possible payment from IBM and the approval of the transaction by the U.S. authorities, seems to be very blurred.