After months of speculation, including a period when it looked like the supposed deal was surely dead, AMD has now officially announced plans to buy graphics giant ATI for $5.4 billion. The sale, which is scheduled to be completed in the fourth quarter pending shareholder, regulatory, and court approval, will result in AMD paying $20.47 (in a mix of cash and stock) for each share of ATI. As you might expect, the news sent ATI's stock price skyrocketing, while shares of AMD dropped due to investor concern that the semiconductor manufacturer is overpaying for its purchase. AMD CEO Hector Ruiz cited his company's burgeoning relationship with Dell as one of the main reasons for the merger, as the newly-formed entity may now be able to snatch even more Dell business away from rival Intel. Some analysts, however, feel that the deal will have negative consequences in the short term, as it may distract both companies -- already struggling to compete on performance -- from pushing out innovative products in their respective categories. Still, the fact that AMD will now be able to offer integrated graphics solutions to PC manufacturers in the same manner as Intel should be enough to help it gain market share in the long run. Either way, we can't wait to see what the new company has in store for us...

[Thanks, Karl]

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