Texas Instruments has bid US$172.5 million for the 300mm fab equipment up for sale at Qimonda’s Richmond, Virginia facility. Bankruptcy court documents don’t reveal much else, except that TI is a stalking horse bidder in this case, which I think means that TI and Qimonda doubt that higher bids will be received but if they do, Qimonda will have to pay (from where!) a break-up fee.
What is actually interesting is that TI maybe finally planning to switch the lights on at its second 300mm fab in Richardson, Texas, which has been sitting silent since 2006. According to the good work of David Lammers, News Editor over at Semiconductor International, TI is contemplating shifting analog production onto 300mm wafers and gaining a significant cost advantage of its competitors.
Since TI announced it was getting out of making leading-edge devices there was only one reason why TI had not sold the facility (losing face and incentives apart) was that it would use the facility for analog production on 300mm wafers.
The problem was that it would only make sense using used-equipment and although 300mm tools have long been made available prices have been about 50% that of new, still probably not low enough for TI to make the wafer/device migration.
As this is the first complete set of 300mm equipment coming on the market, the US$172 million offered is but small change and makes a great steal by TI should the bid be the winner. At that price, (though other tools will probably be needed) TI can go ahead.
Of course the bidding process is not over and nothing is yet guaranteed. However, at least we now have a form of confirmation of what TI is planning for Richardson.