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.

 

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  1. Well, let’s see where this goes. I agree that they’ll hardly make a dent in FPGAs in the datacenter thing. However, if AMD wants to go into these other markets, then that could be good for AMD. They’re at least buying the better FPGA company compared to Intel.

    Let’s see what kind of “synergy” they can come up with. So far, Intel has failed and their CPUs and FPGAs are still pretty separate products. Not much “combining”. I hear they dropped their whole CPU + FPGA in a single package project.

  2. I don’t see why AMD would want to go into the current markets FPGAs are in. Also, those markets don’t realistically include the data center despite what the FPGA companies claim. It’s mostly government, cars and wireless.

    Who knows, maybe AMD won’t fail with their FPGA endeavor like Intel did.

    1. The point many are missing is even if AMD does not so much as even leverage the technical prowess of combining forces, they have added a financial solvent powerhouse added to their corporation. Xilinx is a profitable company with an approximate 200% increase in stock value in the last five years and they have a good future ahead. Having Xilinx for any other reason but for financial stability through diversification is a strong reason for this move. Users on AnandTech also brought these excellent points up:

      -“From a stocks perspective, but take a look at the Xilinx CEOs quote and you’ll see why this is happening, basically AMD is taking them in under their umbrella and we’ll see products with deeper Integration in the future as well as crosspollination that would be less likely if they were separate companies. Also, Xilinx has already been using chiplets for years in their designs.. just FYI. And that is likely a huge deal.”

      -“Xilinx has probably more chiplet experience than any other company… they’ve been doing chiplet based FPGAs for generations at this point.”

      -“Xilinx will benefit greatly of the current 5G push as their FPGAs are heavily used by network equipment (thanks to 3GPP standards and their “Long Term Evolution”) and because their main competitor is late in delivering their 10nm-class offerings. Their Engineers would also benefit AMD’s other business in the mid term as they have the expertise AMD requires to stop outsourcing chipset design to third parties.”

      1. Where are these quotes from? Sounds like a lot of marketing and management speak I’ve heard before. Not much substance to show this is a good decision for AMD’s business.

        1. Hardly marketing. It’s from experienced technical users who have no connection to or financial stake in AMD or Xilinx. It’s just from the AnandTech comments section, from users I have grown to trust.

  3. If regulators allowed the Intel / Altera deal, then they would have to approve the AMD / Xilinx deal right? Even though both companies are semiconductor together they have more diversified portfolio… and together they have more bargaining power with TSMC.
    The biggest downside that I can see is that larger companies have too many competing priorities and lack focus… which is what I believe brought Intel down. This merger makes AMD a worse company in my opinion.

    1. The problem, riddick, is the reasons that Intel buys. For years, they have done it as an act of desperation, to hedge up their defenses fearing for the worse. McAfee, Infineon and so on were bad companies that Intel tried buying to make a name for themselves with them. AMD already has a game plan. If for any other reason, by combining forces, (1) they will be able to provide financial stability for both companies should one or the other go through a rough time (both AMD and Xilinx have been going up in stock value for five years), and (2) they have valuable expertise in such areas as chiplets and chipsets.

      1. Let’s hope that AMD doesn’t prioritize high profit Xilinx products over consumer CPU/APU/GPU when they are given a fixed amount of volume on TSMC’s leading node.

        1. AMD is buying Xilinx, not the other way around, and imagine AMD will continue to play this dominate role in both sales and product manufacture.