The move comes at a time when Intel is beginning to move aggressively to become a chip maker for other companies.
Intel Corp. INTC -1.26 percent is exploring the possibility of acquiring GlobalFoundries Inc. The move would accelerate the semiconductor giant’s plans to make chips for other technology companies and be the largest acquisition in its history, according to people familiar with the matter.
The deal could value GlobalFoundries at about $30 billion, these people said. The deal is not guaranteed to go through, and GlobalFoundries may continue with its planned initial public offering. GlobalFoundries is owned by Mubadala Investment Co., the investment arm of the Abu Dhabi government, but is based in the United States.
Any talks do not appear to include GlobalFoundries itself, as a spokesman for the company said it is not in talks with Intel.
Intel’s new CEO, Pat Gelsinger, said in March that the company would begin serious work on becoming a chip maker for other companies, a market dominated by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. TSM -5.51%
INTEL CHIEF REITERATES WARNING THAT GLOBAL CHIP SHORTAGE COULD DRAG ON FOR YEARS
Intel, which has a market value of about $225 billion, has pledged to invest more than $20 billion this year to expand chip manufacturing capacity in the United States, and Mr. Gelsinger said plans include even more commitments both domestically and abroad.
GlobalFoundries is one of the largest specialized chip companies. It was created when Intel’s rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc. decided to spin off its chip-making facilities in 2008. AMD remains a big customer of GlobalFoundries — it inked a multi-year deal this year for about $1.6 billion worth of chip components — and that could complicate a takeover by Intel. GlobalFoundries is moving its corporate headquarters to Malta, N.Y., from Santa Clara, Calif.
GlobalFoundries has about 7 percent of the foundry market share by revenue, according to TrendForce, a Taiwanese research firm. Some of the largest chip companies, including Qualcomm Inc. QCOM -1.59% and Nvidia Corp. NVDA -4.41%, rely on third-party manufacturers to make their products, preferring to focus on design and not bother running their own factories. Last year, Nvidia overtook Intel as the largest semiconductor company in America by value.
Like Intel and TSMC, GlobalFoundries is expanding its production amid a global semiconductor shortage. Last month, GlobalFoundries said it broke ground on a new chip manufacturing plant, called Fab, in Singapore, investing more than $4 billion.
The shortage has disrupted production in various industries, leading to a temporary shutdown of auto factories and reduced shipments of goods such as computers and some home appliances. Automakers have been particularly hard hit, unable to get enough chips for all their cars. The shortage of chips has led to higher prices for some electronics.
President Biden pledged to take action to alleviate the chip shortage, promising to spend billions of dollars to increase capacity. Other governments have made similar commitments.
TSMC, the world’s largest contract chip maker, said this week that it expects chip supply problems hampering automakers to start easing in coming months after it increased production of chips for cars. Automakers have signaled that they expect shortages to persist next year.
Mr. Gelsinger, who was Intel’s chief technology officer before moving to VMware Inc., VMW 0.29 percent, returned to the chip giant and became its chief executive in February, after severe delays in chip production under his predecessor, Bob Swann. Mr. Gelsinger vowed to make Intel more reliable in producing new chips.
Intel, a serial deal maker, agreed in October to sell its flash memory business to South Korea’s SK Hynix Inc. 000660 -2.02% for about $9 billion.
The company’s biggest deal so far was its $15.4 billion purchase of Altera Corp. in 2015. In 2017, it agreed to buy Israel-based Mobileye, a maker of driver assistance systems, for about $14 billion.
Consolidation has spanned the semiconductor sector as industry players look to scale and expand their product portfolios to support the growing number of everyday items connected to the Internet.
Last year, Analog Devices Inc. ADI -1.50% agreed to pay more than $20 billion for Maxim Integrated Products Inc, MXIM -1.29%, and Nvidia agreed to pay $40 billion for Arm Holdings, a British chip developer backed by SoftBank Group Corp. 9984 -0.98% AMD later agreed to buy Xilinx Inc. XLNX -2.28% in a deal worth about $35 billion.