AMD’s $35 billion acquisition of semiconductor company Xilinx is officially going through, with the deal — originally announced in October 2020 — finally meeting all the various regulatory approval it needs to happen. The transaction (which would be the largest in AMD’s history) is set to go through next week on February 14th, AMD announced.
The deal cleared its final hurdle — regulatory approval in China — on January 27th, setting the stage for AMD and Xilinx to finally close the acquisition.
Xilinx, while also a semiconductor company, specializes in a very different kind of chip than the CPUs and GPUs for computers and serves that AMD has built its brand on. Specifically, Xilinx produces programmable semiconductors, including FPGAs (field-programmable gate arrays) and ASICs (application-specific integrated circuit).
They’re the kind of chips used for a wide array of industrial applications and would help AMD expand into new markets and types of chips that it doesn’t already make. They’re also a key part of modern data centers alongside the CPUs and GPUs that AMD already sells, allowing it to offer clients more comprehensive solutions for what’s becoming an increasingly key part of AMD’s business.
Like AMD itself, though, Xilinx is a fabless semiconductor company (in fact, Xilinx was one of the first companies to switch to that business model), meaning that it doesn’t actually manufacture its own chips. That means that the acquisition won’t give AMD a sudden return to building its own CPUs and GPUs again.
The Xilinx acquisition will also help AMD continue to face off against its biggest competitor, Intel, which purchased Xilinx’s biggest rival in the FPGA space, Altera, back in 2015. Once the deal closes, AMD and Intel will have yet another area to square off (albeit through Xilinx and Altera, which already compete).
The AMD-Xilinx deal clearing regulators in the US and China also comes hot on the heels of another major chip acquisition falling apart: Nvidia’s attempted acquisition of Arm for $40 billion, which was scrapped earlier in the month after facing regulatory struggle in the US, UK, and EU.