Abu Dhabi's ATIC Reaffirms Support for Global Foundries (Update)

EDIT March 1, 2019: Global Foundries reached out to clarify that ATIC's support for the foundry remains strong. The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi recently made an official visit to the company's Singapore fabs. The CEO of Mubdala (100% owner of Global Foundries) commented that “With its focused and inspirational leadership and a clear strategy for value creation, Global Foundries continues to be an integral part of Mubadala’s portfolio.”  

Original Article:

According to a recent ComputerBase report, rumor has it that Advanced Technology Investment (ATIC), the investment arm of the Abu Dhabi government, is looking to sell its ownership in Global Foundries after Global Foundries announced last year that it will skip the 7nm process generation.

ATIC Seeks Exit Buyer

AMD started selling its stake in Global Foundries back in 2008, and by 2012, ATIC government had full ownership of AMD’s former foundry division through its ATIC investment arm.

For years, due to AMD’s contractual obligation to remain a customer of Global Foundries, ATIC has had a major customer on which to rely for the foundry business’ revenues.

AMD recently gained some liberty from that contract that was enabled by Global Foundries’ failure to switch to the 7nm process technology. As such, AMD ended-up announcing that TSMC will be manufacturing most of its chips using the 7nm process.

Following this announcement, the Abu Dhabi government was rumored to have had a change of heart about the whole foundry business and wanted to sell its stake to someone else.

Global Foundries to Focus on 14/12nm Nodes

Because Global Foundries skipped the 7nm process generation, it will now have to double down on its 14nm and 12nm process nodes, presumably as a cheaper alternative to TSMC and Samsung’s offerings for the same node and manufacturing features.

Global Foundries hired a new CEO (Tom Caulfield), last year, who seems to be focusing on cutting costs and improving profitability for the company. Presumably, ATIC wants to make the business as appealing as possible to new buyers. ATIC sold one of Global Foundries’ fabs last year to Vanguard International Semiconducator (VIS) and laid off a portion of the foundry’s employees.

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