GlobalFoundries announced on Thursday that it had agreed to sell its Fab 3E in Singapore to Vanguard International Semiconductor (VIS) as part of a broader plan to exit the MEMS business by the end of the year. The deal will be a wholesale handoff to Vanguard, and both the customers that use the fab and the personnel that work there will be transferred to the new owner. For their part, selling the fab and exiting the MEMS business will allow GlobalFoundries to raise the capital it needs upgrade its other fabs, as well as further invest in technologies that are used to make chips using the company’s other specialized manufacturing processes.

Under the terms of the agreement, GlobalFoundries will sell its Fab 3E located in Tampines, Singapore, to Vanguard for $236 million with transfer of the ownership set to be completed on December 31, 2019. The fab is used to make microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) as well as analog/mixed signal chips, with a production capacity of around 35,000 200-mm wafer starts per month. In addition to the building and equipment, Vanguard will also get GlobalFoundries’ MEMS-related IP. Vanguard in turn will offer employment to the staff of Fab 3E, essentially continuing with the current team. Furthermore, VIS will inherit customers currently served by the production facility.

Vanguard’s existing manufacturing have been running at full capacity since 2018, so by getting GlobalFoundries’ Fab 3E VIS will not only get new customers, but it will also expand its production capabilities. Because MEMS is a growing market, the deal is a clear win for the company.

Meanwhile GlobalFoundries will get $236 million for the sale, which it will invest in other 200-mm fabs and technologies where the company is more clearly differentiated from its competitors. This includes RF, embedded memory, advanced analog, and so on. Since specialized manufacturing processes are a lucrative business, shifting from MEMS is a logical move for the company. Plus it will also help GlobalFoundries reduce its operating costs.

“This transaction is part of our strategy to streamline our global manufacturing footprint and increase our focus in Singapore on technologies where we have clear differentiation such as RF, embedded memory and advanced analog features,” said GF CEO Tom Caulfield. “Consolidating our 200mm operations in Singapore into one campus will also help reduce our operating costs by leveraging the scale of our gigafab facility in Woodlands. VIS is the right partner to leverage the Fab 3E asset going forward.”

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Source: GlobalFoundries

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  • peevee - Saturday, February 02, 2019 - link

    How do you know what their yield is? Reply
  • qcmadness - Sunday, February 03, 2019 - link

    https://www.anandtech.com/show/13405/intel-10nm-ca...

    "We since have confirmed that the graphics is indeed fused off. Intel’s official line is that this processor was released with a specific target market in mind, and it fulfils the role required. What exactly this market is, and at what price point, is still a mystery, even in 2019. However some analysts believe the graphics was a dodo out of the door due to uneconomically viable yields, as well as this chip not making any sense commercially for the product segment it ended up in – it was put into the market just to fulfil a promise to investors.

    Moving from May to August, and no new processors or devices relating to Intel’s 10nm were announced. However Charlie over at SemiAccurate published knowledge that there were issues with Intel’s 10nm process as currently presented. He reports that Intel’s yields were sub-10% for the Cannon Lake 10nm CPU, well below the 60% Intel had expected at this point. "
    Reply
  • qcmadness - Sunday, February 03, 2019 - link

    https://www.anandtech.com/show/13405/intel-10nm-ca...

    "We since have confirmed that the graphics is indeed fused off. Intel’s official line is that this processor was released with a specific target market in mind, and it fulfils the role required. What exactly this market is, and at what price point, is still a mystery, even in 2019. However some analysts believe the graphics was a dodo out of the door due to uneconomically viable yields, as well as this chip not making any sense commercially for the product segment it ended up in – it was put into the market just to fulfil a promise to investors.

    Moving from May to August, and no new processors or devices relating to Intel’s 10nm were announced. However Charlie over at SemiAccurate published knowledge that there were issues with Intel’s 10nm process as currently presented. He reports that Intel’s yields were sub-10% for the Cannon Lake 10nm CPU, well below the 60% Intel had expected at this point. "
    Reply
  • CiccioB - Monday, February 04, 2019 - link

    And so? What you want to aim at?
    Intel had a big problem with their 10nm mostly because they tried to go beyond what was the actual limits of the technology they were using.
    But they have the money for that and also to develop the next PP with EUV in parallel.

    GF failed the 20nm shrink, could not implement the FinFet tech by their own which then they bought from Samsung and failed to develop the 7nm node.
    Since they became an independent foundry from AMD they manage to create the 12nm PP as a refinement of the 14nm. That is, they have proved not being able to develop new PP at all.
    Reply
  • happily1986 - Saturday, February 02, 2019 - link

    Of course this has got NOTHING to do with 7nm development. 7nm has always taken place on 300mm wafers. This fab in the process of being sold, is a 200mm fab! Reply
  • sing_electric - Monday, February 04, 2019 - link

    It's probably the other way around: GlobalFoundries has been hard up for cash, and cancelling 7nm (which would have cost billions) and selling a part of its business are all reflections of that.

    GlobalFoundries has been hurting for a LONG time - AMD spun it off partly because they couldn't afford for it to keep on losing money, IBM sold its business to GF for similar reasons, and GF was purchased at a fairly low price partly because the business model hasn't looked sustainable. Chances are that GF lost money on 14/12nm development, and couldn't stand to lose that amount on 7nm (and even if they could.... couldn't do ti after that).
    Reply
  • ksec - Friday, February 01, 2019 - link

    To add a little more context, VIS was founded by ex TSMC CEO Morris Chang. So the two are closely related.

    And ~$240M for Fab and IP as well as all the business is pretty much a bargain. And MEMS is still a huge opportunity with no clear winner yet. ( Well technically STMicro but I don't have much faith in them competing )
    Reply
  • londedoganet - Sunday, February 03, 2019 - link

    GloFo and TSMC were never the same company. How are they “closely related”? Reply
  • KateH - Sunday, February 03, 2019 - link

    i think they meant VIS and TSMC are closely related due to the founder of VIS being a former TSMC exec Reply
  • The_Assimilator - Saturday, February 02, 2019 - link

    I'm pretty impressed, it's only taken the Saudis what... 10 years? to run what was AMD's fab division into the ground. Give it another decade for GloFo to cease existence. Reply

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