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Intel offloads NAND business to South Korea's SK Hynix for a cool $9bn

Deal sees $7bn paid now, $2bn in 2025 when Intel hands over key IP and FAB workers

Intel has agreed to sell its NAND and SSD businesses to South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix for $9bn.

The deal will see SK Hynix become the world's second largest provider of flash memory, overtaking Japanese rival Kioxia (formerly Toshiba's memory biz) and closing in on Samsung's memory business. Samsung accounted for over a third of the world's NAND sales in the second quarter of the year.

SK Hynix said that the deal would include all of Intel's NAND business, including its SSD business, its NAND product and wafer business, and its chip fab in Dalian, China.

The deal will not include Intel's Optane storage-class-memory business.

SK Hynix said it will combine its own NAND technology with Intel's and plans "to establish a higher value-added 3D NAND solutions portfolio including enterprise SSDs."

Intel's NAND business generated around $2.8bn of revenue and $600m in operating income in the first half of 2020, but Intel has decided it needs to focus on processor technology, which has fallen behind rivals such as TSMC.

Chipzilla's take on the matter is here. SK Hynix's canned statement, meanwhile, stated: "Intel intends to invest transaction proceeds to deliver leadership products and advance its long-term growth priorities, including artificial intelligence, 5G networking and the intelligent, autonomous edge."

The sale is expected to receive government approval next year, though SK Hynix said it will be March 2025 before it is complete. The deal will therefore see an initial payment of $7bn, followed by $2bn in 2025 once Intel hands over: "IP related to the manufacture and design of NAND flash wafers, R&D employees, and the Dalian fab workforce." ®

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