AMD acquires high-performance computing heavyweight Xilinx

The $35 billion gambit will see Xilinx computing technology integrated into AMD’s broader product portfolio

A computer chip manufactured by Xilinx, as seen placed on a circuit board

AMD will acquire the high-performance computing (HPC) giant Xilinx in a $35 billion (£26.8 billion) acquisition that's expected to establish a joint industry-leading HPC company combining technologies from the two firms.

The US chipmaker claims that the product portfolios of the two companies complement each other, and will allow the joint venture to manufacture components for use in many industries. These opportunities include data centres to gaming, to PCs and communications as well as aerospace and national defence.

Xilinx is a renowned manufacturer of several crucial computing components, from circuit boards to ethernet ports all the way to high-performance processors. AMD plans to integrate the full range of Xilinx products and technologies into its own brand in order to build on its array of CPUs, GPUs, FPGAs, Adaptive SoCs and deep software expertise. 

This acquisition will also represent another challenge to AMD rival Intel, which operates in many of the same areas that Xilinx specialises in. The rivalry between the two companies intensified this year after Intel’s status as number one US chipmaker slipped, with Nvidia taking that crown, and after its 7nm CPUs were delayed until 2022.

“Our acquisition of Xilinx marks the next leg in our journey to establish AMD as the industry’s high performance computing leader and partner of choice for the largest and most important technology companies in the world,” said AMD president and CEO Dr Lisa Su.

“This is truly a compelling combination that will create significant value for all stakeholders, including AMD and Xilinx shareholders who will benefit from the future growth and upside potential of the combined company. 

“The Xilinx team is one of the strongest in the industry and we are thrilled to welcome them to the AMD family. By combining our world-class engineering teams and deep domain expertise, we will create an industry leader with the vision, talent and scale to define the future of high performance computing.”

Xilinx will pour its 13,000 engineers and annual R&D investment of $2.7 billion into developing next-gen AMD products, with the company retaining 74% ownership of the combined entity. Dr Su will lead the combined company as CEO, while Xilinx CEO Victor Peng will join AMD as president responsible for the Xilinx business and growth strategy. 

The acquisition is currently expected to close by the end of 2021.

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