Now that the dust has started to settle on the GlobalFoundries acquisition of IBM’s semiconductor business it is possible to look into another level of detail about what GlobalFoundries will be acquiring in the way of technology and IP. Of course, the deal hasn’t formally closed yet so this won’t all happen instantly. Estimates are that the deal may take as long as a year to close, and the rules are quite strict on how closely people can work together on an unclosed deal so it is going to be a challenge to manage the transition.
Firstly, there is additional capability in the specialized foundry business, meaning anything other than regular digital SoC type manufacturing. GlobalFoundries already has a good capability in this area, primarily running in the old Chartered fabs in Singapore, some of which have been upgraded to 300mm. But with IBM the gain:
- PA/FEM (power amplifiers, front-end modules) and transceivers
- High performance RF and AMS with SiGe
- High voltage and power management
- A specialty foundry business to address growth opportunities in mobile RF, which is expected to grow fast (see graph above)
This all runs in the old IBM 200mm fab in Essex Junction, Vermont, which is about 3 hours drive north of GlobalFoundries’ fab8 in Malta NY. The capacity is around 40K wafer starts per month.
They are also taking over IBM’s commercial ASIC business which is focused on network and computing infrastructure, in particular wired communications, wireless communications infrastructure (base stations) and storage. This runs in the IBM 300mm fab in East Fishkill, New York (a couple of hours south of fab8). The ASIC business is expected to grow with a CAGR of 6.5% (see graph above). East Fishkill has a capacity of around 14K wafer starts per month.
Fab8 has a capacity of 60,000 300mm wafers per month (or roughly 120,000 200mm equivalents).
There is major investment in technology in the north east with the college of nanoscale science and engineering (CSNE) in the area too (in Albany) too. But clearly GlobalFoundries now has a world class technology development team.
So the bottom line is that the acquisition:
- Reinforces GlobalFoundries’ long-term commitment to manufacturing and technology leadership
- Provides R&D expertise to give a path to 10nm and beyond
- Expands segment growth in RF and ASIC
- Becomes IBM’s sole source foundry partner
- Gives them strategic relationships with top OEM industry suppliers
GlobalFoundries have a presentation deck covering the acquisition here.