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AMD Foundry spinoff details start to emerge

Update Hector goes with the fabs
Tue Oct 07 2008, 11:00

THE OUTLINES of AMD's spinoff of its manufacturing plants to Abu Dhabi that is to be announced today are starting to come out.

The United Arab Emirates' capital Abu Dhabi is paying AMD $700 million in cash for a 56 per cent stake in the spinoff, called Foundry Company, with AMD retaining the remaining 44 per cent. Foundry Company will take over AMD's two existing fabs in Germany along with a new fab that's well along in planning stages but yet to be built in upstate New York.

The oil rich Persian Gulf emirate will also double its holding of AMD shares to a 19 per cent stake in the now fabless microprocessor and graphics semiconductor chip design company.

Abu Dhabi will also throw at least $3.6 billion, and up to $6 billion, into Foundry Company for factory expansion and new construction, as well as provide it with an initial $1.4 billion in operating capital.

Foundry Company will produce chips for AMD and will also seek production contracts with other companies, while AMD will shift its focus to chip design and marketing going forward.

AMD executive Doug Grose will become the founding CEO of Foundry Company and former AMD CEO Hector Ruiz will step down from AMD's board to serve as the Foundry Company chairman. About 3,000 of AMD's current 16,000 employees will move to Foundry Company.

AMD CEO Dirk Meyer explained that the company's fab spinoff means AMD will be able to develop new products without having to invest billions in new chip-making technology and plant capacity. "It will make AMD financially strong and more tightly focused," Meyer said. µ

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