Chip maker AMD has announced plans to buy Xilinx in a deal worth $35 billion which would lead to further consolidation of the semiconductor space while making AMD a significant player in the FPGA space.
An FPGA (Field Gate Programmable Array) is a software-defined chip that can be programmed to perform in a variety of different ways, giving them a level of flexibility you don’t typically find in chips that cannot be altered once they’ve left the factory.
When the Wall Street Journal broke the news earlier this month that AMD was pursuing a Xilinx acquisition, the newspaper noted that wireless carriers are using FPGAs as they expand their 5G network infrastructure. But they can also be used for a wide range of other applications including for automotive, aerospace, audio, broadcast, data center, industrial, medical, and security purposes.
In its press release announcing the deal, AMD also points out that there’s little overlap between AMD and Xilinx’s current businesses, which means two things: the acquisition would give AMD a portfolio of CPU, GPU, FPGA, and adaptive SoCs… and the company is hoping regulators won’t see the deal as cutting down on competition in the chip space.
That said, it could stay take a while for the deal to be completed – AMD doesn’t expect it to happen until close to the end of 2021.
Rival chip maker Intel is also in the FPGA business these days: the company acquired Altera in 2015 for $16.7 billion.