Micron to buy Intel's stake in IM Flash Technologies

Irving Hamilton
October 20, 2018

The company can exercise a call option starting January 1, 2019 and the transaction is expected to close between six and 12 months after Micron exercises the option. The deal, which is expected to take between six and 12 months to complete, requires Micron to pay $1.5 million in cash and a further $1 million to cover Intel's debt in the venture.

"Micron's acquisition of IM Flash demonstrates our strong belief that 3D XPoint technology and other emerging memories will provide a unique differentiator for the company and be an essential solution for new data-hungry applications", says Micron CEO Sanjay Mehrotra.

Micron said IM Flash would become a wholly-owned subsidiary of the company once the deal closes.

Intel and Micron have been drifting apart for many months. In January this year, the pair separated their flash interests in IMTF, with each developing their own 3D NAND technologies. Intel has a 3D NAND foundry in Dalian, China.

Intel is believed to want out because demand for the technology it uses 3D XPoint in, Optane SSDs, has struggled to generate much demand.

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Early this year the two companies chose to fold their NAND flash R&D partnership, which made a jointly owned production facility somewhat useless for the long term as Intel and Micron were going to develop their own process technologies and memory devices going forward.

It's reported that while Intel sees 3D XPoint being used for server applications, Micron's interests include automotive, mobile, and special-purpose use. "One of the two will need a whole XPoint fab". While this is ongoing, Micron has previously stated that it is set to introduce its own 2nd Gen 3D XPoint-based products in late calendar 2019 and then ramp them in 2020 under the QuantX brand.

The existing agreement states that Micron will sell 3D XPoint memory wafers to Intel for up to a year after the IM Flash deal closes.

In July, the two chipmakers made a decision to conclude joint development of 3D XPoint technology and to pursue operations independently.

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