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Intel and STMicroelectronics form Flash memory alliance

Posted on Tuesday, May 22 2007 @ 19:02:10 CEST by

Intel, STMicroelectronics and Francisco Partners announced today that they've entered an agreement to create a new independent flash memory manufacturer. The goal of this new semiconductor firm will be to produce flash memory solutions for devices like cell phones, MP3 players, digital cameras, PCs and other consumer and industrial devices.

The companies hope this new company will generate $3.6 billion in annual revenue. The new company will combine key research and development, manufacturing and sales and marketing assets of Intel and STMicroelectronics into a streamlined worldwide structure with the scale to produce cost-effective and innovative non-volatile memory solutions. With STMicroelectronics and Intel contributing more than 40 years of combined experience in non-volatile memory technology development, including next-generation phase-change memory, the company will be well positioned to both serve its customers with complete memory solutions and accelerate the move to future non-volatile memory technologies.

"The new company will be positioned to service customers with all of the elements necessary to deliver current and next-generation non-volatile memory technologies, while allowing ST to redefine its participation in flash memory," said Carlo Bozotti, STMicroelectronics president and CEO, and non-executive chairman designate of the new company.

Under the terms of the agreement, STMicroelectronics will sell its flash memory assets, including its NAND joint venture interest and other NOR resources, to the new company while Intel will sell its NOR assets and resources. In exchange, Intel will receive a 45.1 percent equity ownership stake and a $432 million cash payment at close. STMicroelectronics will receive a 48.6 percent equity ownership stake and a $468 million cash payment at close. Francisco Partners L.P., a Menlo Park, Calif.-based private equity firm, will invest $150 million in cash for convertible preferred stock representing a 6.3 percent ownership interest, subject to adjustment in certain circumstances. Concurrently, the parties have arranged for the new company to receive firm commitments for a $1.3 billion term loan and $250 million revolver. The term loan will be underwritten by a consortium of banks. Proceeds from the term loan will be used for working capital and payment to Intel and STMicroelectronics for the purchase price. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions and is expected to occur in the second half of 2007.

The new company, to be managed by Brian Harrison as CEO-designate and Mario Licciardello, currently corporate vice president of ST's Flash Memories Group as COO-designate, will be headquartered in Switzerland and incorporated in the Netherlands with nine main research and manufacturing locations around the world and approximately 8,000 employees. The company will also benefit from a worldwide sales force.

With assets and resources from Intel and STMicroelectronics, including a patent portfolio of approximately 2,500 patents and 1000 patents pending, the new company will have the scale to benefit from the increasing demand for memory resulting from the growing amount of information and content that is becoming more mobile and is now based almost entirely on digital technology. The integration of STMicroelectronics' and Intel's parallel programs on phase-change memory, a key technology capability, will also help to bring the benefits of advanced flash memory technology to potential customers more quickly and efficiently.



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