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Intel sells IMFT fabs to Micron in exchange for NAND flash

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A simple reorganization of proportions

Today, Intel and Micron announced via their joint Intel-Micron Flash Technologies (IMFT) partnership that the companies have entered into agreement to expand their NAND flash memory capacity and modify their ownership stakes in the joint venture.

In short, Intel is basically agreeing to sell two fabrication plants to Micron for approximately $600 million, half of which Micron will be paying cash while the rest it will be paying by giving more NAND flash to Intel.

The IMFT joint-venture owns a total of three fabrication plants - one in Utah, one in Virginia and one in Singapore. For Intel, the Utah plant has always been its prized possession as this is the facility that always moves to new process nodes the quickest, allowing Intel to remain on the cutting-edge of nanoscale process node technologies well before the rest of the competition. Nevertheless, the new agreement will allow Intel to focus more of its resources on the Utah plant while Micron can benefit from the "secondary" Virginia and Singapore plants by selling NAND flash to subsidiary partners who will eventually rebrand the NAND and focus on memory sales (see: Spectec, a subsidiary of Micron).

imft lehi utah plant

IMFT's "advanced process node" plant in Lehi, Utah. Cost: $160 million

As several analysts have noted, it is possible that we may see less Intel-branded NAND flash in the coming years as the company continues to focus the majority of its efforts on processors and actual SSD sales, rather than mass-producing NAND and selling it to other companies.

"The Intel-Micron partnership has created industry-leading NAND Flash memory technology and developed a robust global manufacturing network. The new NAND Flash supply agreement with Micron gives Intel better flexibility to meet growing demand for SSDs and other products," said Robert Crooke, Corporate Vice President and General Manager of the Non-Volatile Memory Solutions Group, Intel.

Last modified on 28 February 2012
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