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UK's competition watchdog sniffs around AMD's proposed $35bn all-stock buy of Xilinx

Will deal make goods, services less competitive? Regulator wants to hear from interested parties

Updated Britain’s competition regulator has belatedly stuck a probe in AMD’s $35bn all-stock proposal to purchase Xilinx, more than a month after investors in both businesses gave the transaction their seal of approval.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) today launched an enquiry inviting interested parties to provide written comments on the planned buy. The deadline for this phase 1 is scheduled for 6 July.

It said:

The CMA is considering whether it is or may be the case that this transaction, if carried into effect, will result in the creation of a relevant merger situation under the provisions of the Enterprise Act 2020, and if so, whether the creation of that situation may be expected to result, in a substantial lessening of competition without any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services.

The multi-billion stock buy of Xilinx, one of the major players in the FPGA market, was confirmed by both outfits in October, and company execs high-fived each other at the start of April when shareholder approval was granted.

AMD president and CEO Lisa Su, said at the time that Xilinx would bolster AMD's position in HPC. “By combining our world-class engineering team and deep domain expertise, we will create an industry leader with the vision, talent and scale to define the future of high performance computing.”

As The Reg pointed out before, AMD could pair up its x86 server processors with Xilinx’s FPGAs to packages of compute with customisable configuration acceleration added. AMD might also find good use for Xilinx with the rise of DPUs and SMartNICs.

In addition, the programmable logic device-maker is a big dog in the infrastructure of cellular networks as its Versal chips are used in telco kit made by Ericsson, Nokia and Huawei, though for obvious reasons, the latter of those three is doing less business with it these days.

Xilinx's main rival is Altera, which was itself consumed by Intel almost six years ago for $16.7bn, where is was digested into Chipzilla’s data centre division, where it has lived ever since.

The CMA will want to hear from any concerned voices about what they fear would be the potential impact on consumers of AMD’s move on the supply chain as well as on the subsequent state of competition. ®

Update 29 June 2021

The CMA has cleared the anticipated acquisition by Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. of Xilinx, Inc. The full text of the decision will be available shortly.

Updated on 30 June 2021 to add:

The European Commission said it has given AMD "unconditional" approval for the planned Xilinx acquisition.

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