GlobalFoundries Chip Fab Reportedly Being Shopped Around To Samsung And SK Hynix

Following a downsizing effort that began last year, GlobalFoundries may be in search of a buyer. This would be a major move in the semiconductor sector, as GlobalFoundries is the world's third largest foundry company, behind Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and Samsung Electonics. Global Foundries holds an 8.4 share of the global foundry market. Intel is not included because it manufacturers semiconductors for its own products, as opposed to building them for others.

Just last month, Global Foundries sold its 200mm Fab 3E in Tampines, Singapore to Vanguard International Semiconductor for $236 million. The sale included buildings, facilities, equipment, and intellectual property associated with its MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical systems) business. GlobalFoundries also laid off 5 percent of its workforce.

"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," GlobalFoundries CEO Tom Caulfield said at the time. "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."

Speculation among experts is that the moves GlobalFoundries has been making are towards a larger effort to find a buyer for the company as a whole. GlobalFoundries has not been able to keep up with TSMC and Samsung, with the former accounting for half of the global foundry market.

It's rumored that Samsung and SK Hynix are interested in buying GlobalFoundries, though it is not clear if any negotiations are currently taking place.

As it stands, Mubadala Technology in Abu Dhabi holds a 90 percent stake in GlobalFoundries. According to a Digitimes, report, the company is unlikely to be sold to a Chinese company such as SMIC due to tensions between the US and China.

"The most potential candidates include South Korean companies such as Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix, and Samsung Electronics can increase its share in the market to 23 percent at once if it takes over Global Foundries," the report states.

GlobalFoundries originally spun off from AMD in 2009, the latter of which divested its remaining stake in the company in the 2012. It has 10 plans around the world, including three in the US, and builds semiconductors for companies such as AMD, Broadcomm, STMicroelectronics, and Qualcomm.