When it comes to M&A in the chip world, the numbers are never small. In 2020, four deals involving chip companies totaled $106 billion, led by Nvidia snagging ARM for $40 billion. One surprise from last year's chip-laced M&A frenzy was Intel remaining on the sidelines. That would change if a rumored $30 billion deal to buy chip manufacturing concern GlobalFoundries comes to fruition.
The rumor was first reported by The Wall Street Journal yesterday.
Patrick Moorhead, founder and principal analyst at Moor Insight & Strategies, who watches the chip industry closely, says that snagging GlobalFoundries would certainly make sense for Intel. The company is currently pursuing a new strategy to manufacture and sell chips for both Intel and to others under CEO Pat Gelsinger, who came on board in January to turn around the flagging chip maker.
"GlobalFoundries has technologies and processes that are specialized for 5G RF, IoT and automotive. Intel with GlobalFoundries would become what I call a 'full-stack provider' that could offer a customer everything. This is in full alignment with IDM 2.0 (Intel's chip manufacturing strategy) and would get Intel there years before it could without GlobalFoundries," Moorhead told TechCrunch.
It would also give Intel a chip manufacturing facility at a time when there are global chip shortages and huge demand for product from every corner, due in part to the pandemic and the impact it has had on the global supply chain. Intel has already indicated it has plans to spend more than $20 billion to build two fabs (chip manufacturing plants) in Arizona. Adding GlobalFoundries to these plans would give them a broad set of manufacturing capabilities in the coming years if it came to pass, but would also involve a significant investment of tens of billions of dollars to get there.
GlobalFoundries is a worldwide chip manufacturing concern based in the U.S. The company was spun off from Intel's rival chip maker AMD in 2012, and is currently owned by Mubadala Investment Company, the investment arm of the government of Abu Dhabi.
Investors seem to like the idea of combining these two companies, with Intel stock up 1.59% as of publication. It's important to note that this deal is still in the rumor stage and nothing is definitive or final yet. We will let you know if that changes.