Marvell on Monday announced that it had entered into agreement to buy Avera Semiconductor from GlobalFoundries. The acquisition will bring additional chip design capabilities to Marvell and will enable it to develop a wider range of products. In particular, the company says that that the takeover will help it to strengthen its position as a leading supplier of infrastructure semiconductor solutions. Meanwhile the deal also sees Marvell signing a wafer supply agreement with GlobalFoundries.

GlobalFoundries spun off its ASIC Solutions division (which it got from IBM) into Avera Semiconductor in November 2018. The business unit helps chip designers to develop semi-custom of full-custom chips. Avera employs about 800 engineers and has a comprehensive portfolio of silicon-proven IP, including Arm cores, performance and density-optimized SRAMs, embedded TCAMs, high-speed SerDes, interfaces, and other useful IP. In particular, Avera has design experience in fields such as analog and mixed-signal and SoCs for switches, routers, and other devices. Right now, Avera is developing several projects for next-gen datacenters.

Marvell will pay GlobalFoundries $650 million in cash at closing (by the end of Marvell’s fiscal year 2020) plus an additional $90 million in cash if certain business conditions are satisfied within the next 15 months. The contracts involve handing over Avera's revenue base, strategic design wins with infrastructure OEMs, and a long-term wafer supply agreement between GlobalFoundries and Marvell.

Since Avera used to work exclusively with customers of GlobalFoundries, the vast majority of its IP blocks were designed for GlobalFoundries’ process technologies. So Marvell signing a long-term supply agreement with GlobalFoundries makes sense for both companies, as Marvell is going to be using GlobalFoundries capacity anyhow.

With addition of Avera engineers and IP, Marvell hopes to address (among other markets) custom ASICs aimed at base stations, which will have positive effects on its revenue and profitability.

Overall, selling off its Avera business is part of a greater reshaping of GlobalFoundries. As the company has ceased development of cutting-edge process nodes (7nm+) and shifted to specialty process technologies, its client base and business needs are shifting as well.

Related Reading:

Source: Marvell

Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • ksec - Tuesday, May 21, 2019 - link

    It seems Marvell is expanding their product line quite rapidly. Broadcom has many decent Network Controller. Qualcomm in Wireless, Are Marvell leading in any domain?
  • jeremyshaw - Tuesday, May 21, 2019 - link

    They are leading in junk WiFi adapters used exclusively by Microsoft products (xbox, surface). Slow, limited range, and inconsistent in actually maintaining connections.

    Though for a while, their expertise was in providing "smart-er" bridge connections (something like an ethernet MAC/PHY with an ARM core, vs an 8051 compatible core). This made them suited for NAS, network media playback, etc. I'd imagine they are still doing something along those lines, just [2019'd].
  • Smell This - Tuesday, May 21, 2019 - link

    **Avera employs about 800 engineers and has a comprehensive portfolio of silicon-proven IP, including Arm cores, performance and density-optimized SRAMs, embedded TCAMs, high-speed SerDes, interfaces, and other useful IP.**

    Likely good all around. Hopefully, all those Big Blue Engineers will find a home at Marvell/Avera.

    It is interesting what the future holds with 7/5nm LP. I'm thinkin' IBM (and GlobalFoundries) did the right thing __ it will cost tens of billions of dollars to bring 'cutting-edge' to the high-volume mainstream, with a lot of dinked wafers and heartaches along the way.
  • Eliadbu - Wednesday, May 22, 2019 - link

    GF is a bad position it no longer at the cut edge of manufacturing nor it intends to get back there, and their other process seems to have no clear advantage. Right now they seem to reduce their business to very specific segment, probably to reduce costs and get some money to compensate the loss on 7nm development.
  • ChrisGar15 - Wednesday, May 29, 2019 - link

    Will be interesting to see if they use TSMC or Samsung for 7nm.
  • Arsenica - Tuesday, May 21, 2019 - link

    The *rightsizing* of GloFo continues. I won't be surprised if Abu Dhabi ends up selling whatever is left to Samsung or to an investment fund.
  • The_Assimilator - Tuesday, May 21, 2019 - link

    Yup, they're just gonna carve off and sell bits until there's nothing left but a husk.
  • narendra360 - Friday, May 24, 2019 - link

    I Totally agree on your views here and a very interesting topic everyone should know and appreciate.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now