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GlobalFoundries acquires IBM's chip manufacturing business

Posted: 02 Jul 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:chip manufacturing? semiconductor? processor? Power 8? fab?

GlobalFoundries has finalised the acquisition of IBM's Microelectronics business following final approval by U.S. regulators. The world's second largest chip foundry will receive $1.5 billion as payment from IBM.

With the acquisition, GlobalFoundries gains differentiated technologies to enhance its product offerings in key growth markets, from mobility and Internet of Things (IoT) to Big Data and high-performance computing.

The deal strengthens the company's workforce, adding decades of experience and expertise in semiconductor development, device expertise, design and manufacturing. And the addition of more than 16,000 patents and applications makes it the holder of one of the largest semiconductor patent portfolios in the world.

GlobalFoundries will be IBM's exclusive semiconductor processor technology provider for the next 10 years. It also gets direct access to IBM's continued investment in world-class semiconductor research, solidifying its path to advanced process geometries at 10nm and beyond. The deal could expand GlobalFoundries' current capacity by more than 10 per cent.

IBM's fabs had been losing significant money in recent years; it's two primary fabs lost approximately $700 million during 2013 and 2014.

IBM's East Fishkill, N.Y., fab that made about 15,000 wafers a month mainly in 45nm and 32nm silicon-on-insulator processes. The fab is also ramping the 22nm process used to make IBM's Power 8 processors and has some 14nm technology in development for the follow-on generation.

The Burlington, Vt., fab which makes 45,000 200 mm wafers per month. The fab uses a wide variety of processes, including a 130/180nm RF SOI process for RF front-ends and switches used mainly in cell phones and a 90nm silicon germanium process, mainly for power chips used across a wide range of high-end applications including car radars and high-frequency radios and testers.

Under the deal, GlobalFoundries will get ownership of more than 10,000 IBM semiconductor patents. No layoffs or plant closures are anticipated by either company.

- Jessica Lipsky
??EE Times

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