Image: SK hynix

Well, that was fast. Right on the heels of this evening’s reports, SK hynix has announced that it is officially buying Intel’s NAND memory business for $9 billion.

That would include Intel’s NAND SSD business, as well as its NAND component and wafer business. SK hynix is also getting Intel’s Dalian NAND memory manufacturing facility in China.

As noted in our previous coverage, this deal does not involve Intel’s 3D Xpoint technology. The company will continue to produce SSD products leveraging its NAND alternative under the Optane name.

Original Press Release

SK hynix and Intel today announced that they have signed an agreement on Oct. 20, KST, under which SK hynix would acquire Intel’s NAND memory and storage business for US $9 billion.

The transaction includes the NAND SSD business, the NAND component and wafer business, and the Dalian NAND memory manufacturing facility in China. Intel will retain its distinct Intel® OptaneTM business.

SK hynix and Intel will endeavor to obtain required governmental approvals expected in late 2021. Following receipt of these approvals, SK hynix will acquire from Intel the NAND SSD business (including NAND SSD-associated IP and employees), as well as the Dalian facility, with the first payment of US $7 billion. SK hynix will acquire from Intel the remaining assets, including IP related to the manufacture and design of NAND flash wafers, R&D employees, and the Dalian fab workforce, upon a final closing, expected to occur in March 2025 with the remaining payment of US $2 billion. Per the agreement, Intel will continue to manufacture NAND wafers at the Dalian Memory Manufacturing Facility and retain all IP related to the manufacture and design of NAND flash wafers until the final closing.

With this acquisition, SK hynix aims to enhance the competitiveness of its storage solutions, including enterprise SSDs, in the rapidly growing NAND flash space, and further aims to leap forward as one of the leading global semiconductor companies in the industry. SK hynix expects that the transaction would enable SK hynix to grow the memory ecosystem to the benefit of customers, partners, employees and shareholders.

As the global leader in the semiconductor industry, Intel possesses industry-leading NAND SSD technology and quadruple level cell (QLC) NAND flash products. For the first six months ended June 27, 2020, the NAND businesses represented approximately US $2.8 billion of the revenue for Intel`s Non-volatile Memory Solutions Group (NSG) and contributed approximately US $600 million to NSG operating income.

SK hynix developed the world’s first Charge Trap Flash (CTF)-based, 96-layer 4D NAND flash in 2018 and 128-layer 4D NAND flash in 2019. SK hynix will combine Intel`s solutions technology and manufacturing capability in order to establish a higher value-added 3D NAND solutions portfolio including enterprise SSDs.

Intel intends to invest transaction proceeds to deliver leadership products and advance its long-term growth priorities, including artificial intelligence, 5G networking and the intelligent, autonomous edge.

Intel and SK hynix will work together to ensure a seamless transition for customers, suppliers and employees. The two companies will work collaboratively as they did recently with DDR5, to better serve the growing demand from the memory-based semiconductor ecosystem.

“I am pleased to see SK hynix and Intel`s NAND division, which have led the NAND flash technology innovation, work to build the new future together,” said Seok-Hee Lee, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SK hynix. “By taking each other`s strengths and technologies, SK hynix will proactively respond to various needs from customers and optimize our business structure, expanding our innovative portfolio in the NAND flash market segment, which will be comparable with what we achieved in DRAM.”

Bob Swan, Intel CEO said, “I am proud of the NAND memory business we have built and believe this combination with SK hynix will grow the memory ecosystem for the benefit of customers, partners and employees. For Intel, this transaction will allow us to further prioritize our investments in differentiated technology where we can play a bigger role in the success of our customers and deliver attractive returns to our stockholders.”

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10 Comments

  1. A little sad. Intel would be fine if they would have left the division move at their own pace. Do their own marketing.
    I don’t think they function like that, they spread their poor management all over.
    Their products could have been dominant in retail no problems, the quality is there, has been there to do better.

  2. Interesting.

    For the longest time I’ve said that the two SSD brands I trust are Samsung and Intel. Will have to see how SK Hynix manages this.

  3. [QUOTE=”Zarathustra, post: 21345, member: 203″]
    Interesting.

    For the longest time I’ve said that the two SSD brands I trust are Samsung and Intel. Will have to see how SK Hynix manages this.
    [/QUOTE]
    Has Intel really done anything major with SSDs in the near past? The last I can really think of them as a daily name in SSDs were the X25’s, if you don’t count Optane.

    Really a shame about Optane, it had some promise, but kinda fizzled out. I think Intel bet a lot on that as well, and that may be what is driving this sale as much as anything.

  4. [QUOTE=”Uvilla, post: 21387, member: 397″]
    Is optane part of this deal?
    If it is, it gets dumber by the minute.
    [/QUOTE]
    It is not.

  5. [QUOTE=”Stoly, post: 21390, member: 1474″]
    optane is pretty much dead anyway
    [/QUOTE]
    No, I think its a big deal in servers.
    For desktop, I think it will be in time, if production is ever enough to spill over and drop in price.
    Edit: pfft, seems I remembered Intels rosy view of optane, and nothing else. Reading other articles, things don’t look that great.

  6. [QUOTE=”Uvilla, post: 21393, member: 397″]
    No, I think its a big deal in servers.
    For desktop, I think it will be in time, if production is ever enough to spill over and drop in price.
    Edit: pfft, seems I remembered Intels rosy view of optane, and nothing else. Reading other articles, things don’t look that great.
    [/QUOTE]
    Yeah. It had a ton of promise. In reality it hasn’t really done much – too slow to outright replace DRAM, and traditional SSDs are already so fast as to not be a bottleneck so being faster than an SSD doesn’t really buy you anything outside of some very niche applications. The only play it ever really made was to act as HDD cache, but SSDs can already do that just as well, so….

    It might have had a place in mobile, if they could have got the price/power down, as having combined RAM/storage in a single hardware device would be a big deal, but Intel doesn’t ever seem to be able to imagine anything correctly for mobile applications.

  7. [QUOTE=”Uvilla, post: 21393, member: 397″]
    No, I think its a big deal in servers.
    For desktop, I think it will be in time, if production is ever enough to spill over and drop in price.
    Edit: pfft, seems I remembered Intels rosy view of optane, and nothing else. Reading other articles, things don’t look that great.
    [/QUOTE]

    Well, I haven’t heard any optane news in years (no news is bad news), so I don’t know how has it developed. I think it still tops at 120gb on the m2 form factor.

    IOPS/latency wise, some high end pci-e 3.0 ssds already meet or exceed performance and it will only get worse with pci-e 4.0 ssds.

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