Intel negotiating $30B deal for chipmaker GlobalFoundries

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Intel is in talks to acquire specialist chip production company GlobalFoundries in a deal worth about $30 billion, a move that would help Intel in its plans to become a chipmaker for other companies.

Citing people familiar with the matter, The Wall Street Journal on Thursday reported that Intel is in negotiations with GlobalFoundries owner Mubadala Investment Co., an arm of the Abu Dhabi government that holds its headquarters in the U.S. GlobalFoundries itself does not appear to be part of the process, as a spokeswoman said the company is not in discussions with Intel.

The purchase, if it goes through, will be Intel's largest to date and would help support the company's plan to manufacture chips for other firms.

In March, Intel announced a $20 billion intiiative to build a pair of chip fabs in Ocotillo, Arizona, with plans to dedicate at least a portion of the output to a new foundry subsidiary.

A key part of the project is Intel Foundry Services, a new chip manufacturing arm that will produce silicon based on both the x86 architecture and ARM designs. IFS is a standalone unit within Intel that is working with Amazon, Cisco, IBM and Microsoft. The branch hopes to gain the interest of Apple, which currently relies on foundries run by TSMC to produce its A- and M-series SoCs.

GlobalFoundries is a TSMC competitor that was created in 2008 when AMD split off its manufacturing arm. AMD is still a major customer and this year agreed to a $1.6 billion chip-component supply deal that could complicate an Intel takeover, the report said.

Also muddying the waters is a 2019 legal settlement between TSMC and GlobalFoundries that has the companies cross-licensing patents related to semiconductor technology.

GlobalFoundries sued TSMC, Apple, Google and other associated companies for alleged infringement of patents covering semiconductor manufacturing. TSMC retaliated with its own set of lawsuits before the parties agreed to settle the multi-jurisdictional dispute.

Intel, TSMC, GlobalFoundries and other chipmakers are quickly building new fabs to boost capacity amid a worldwide chip shortage. Earlier today, TSMC said its Arizona plant, which will churn out silicon using a 5nm process, is expected to begin production in 2024.

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