Advanced Micro Devices’ purchase of Canadian graphics chip developer ATI Technologies won’t impact ATI’s business dealings with its largest foundry partner, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC) said in a statement late Monday.
ATI develops the blueprints of a chip, and then has other companies such as TSMC manufacture them. The graphics chip maker is one of TSMC’s biggest clients, and graphics chips tend to command higher prices than other types of chips for contract chip makers.
On Monday, TSMC’s stock dropped to 52.90 new Taiwan dollars (US$1.61) on news reports predicting the merger, down NT$2 during trade on the Taiwan Stock Exchange. Investors believed the AMD/ATI tie-up would mean ATI planned to pull its chip orders from TSMC and place them with AMD partners, IBM or Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing, according to the evening edition of the United Daily News, a Taiwanese newspaper.
“Based on our discussions with ATI, our business with ATI will continue as usual after its merger with AMD,” TSMC said in the statement.
Analysts sided with TSMC.
“We disagree with claims that TSMC would lose all ATI revenue,” said Dan Heyler, research analyst at Merrill Lynch in Hong Kong, in a report.
He said volatility in the chipset and graphics markets makes production more suitable for a contract manufacturing partner such as TSMC rather than a chip maker such as AMD. Contract manufacturers can offset market lulls in one product by making other kinds of chips, while companies such as AMD simply suffer losses when the market turns down. A transition of ATI orders away from TSMC would also likely be slow since AMD’s own factories are already running at full steam on its own products, he said.
TSMC shares were up 1.5 percent early at NT$53.7 in Taipei. The company’s U.S.-listed stocks rose 5 percent on Monday.
AMD confirmed news reports on Monday in the United States, long after Asian stock markets had closed for the day. The microprocessor maker agreed to buy ATI for about $5.4 billion in cash and stock.
-Dan Nystedt, IDG News Service (Taipei Bureau)
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