The first six months of 2017 saw a dozen merger and acquisition deals in the semiconductor industry, with a total value of only $1.4 billion, compared with $4.6 billion in the first half of 2016 and $72.6 billion in the first half of 2015, IC Insights reports. "Governments around the world are scrutinizing a lot of these deals, and that may play a role in reducing the numbers of deals that are being struck," says Rob Lineback of IC Insights.
SK Hynix now plans to spend about $8.5 billion in 2017 to expand its production capacity for DRAMs and 3D NAND flash memory devices. Part of the 37% increase in chip investment will also go toward research and development, the company said in a regulatory filing.
Toshiba's board will convene to consider offers for its semiconductor business from Western Digital, Foxconn Technology Group and the preferred group of bidders, which includes Bain Capital and SK Hynix, Reuters reports, citing a source familiar with the matter. The company has been unable to reach a deal with the preferred bidders, who count Japanese government-backed funds among their ranks.
Advanced Micro Devices reported a net loss of $16 million for the second quarter ended July 1, compared with a profit of $69 million a year earlier, as revenue increased 19% to $1.22 billion on strong sales for its graphics processing chips and the Ryzen line of PC processors. The chip design company forecast third-quarter revenue would be about $1.5 billion, higher than the average analyst estimate of $1.39 billion.
University of Maryland researchers report development of a bio-compatible ion current battery that could be used in the human body. Potential applications are direct machine-human communication, the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer's disease and depression, medical devices for the disabled and more efficient drug and gene delivery, according to the team.
Western Digital has introduced the BiCS3 X4 module, based on 64-layer 3D NAND flash memories with four bits per cell. The product increases single-chip data storage from 512 gigabytes to 768 gigabytes, without significant performance loss, the company says.
Despite efforts by the Semiconductor Industry Association and others, counterfeit semiconductors from China and elsewhere are regularly infiltrating the chip supply chain. "The issue of counterfeiting is a global problem," says Thomas Ruzika of SiliconExpert.
Silicon wafer area shipments reached 2.98 billion square inches during the second quarter, a 4.2% increase from the first quarter's 2.86 billion square inches and up 10.1% from a year earlier, continuing to set records for the industry sector, according to SEMI's Silicon Manufacturers Group. Chungwei Lee, chairman of SEMI SMG, said in a statement, "These record levels are being driven by both 200mm and 300mm shipments."
NXP Semiconductors plans to spend around $22 million to expand its wafer fabrication facilities in Austin, Texas, and Chandler, Ariz., to make more secure identification chips for the US government. Meanwhile, NXP's chief financial officer, Daniel Durn, is leaving the chipmaker to become the CFO at Applied Materials; he will be succeeded by Peter Kelly, who previously served as CFO at NXP.
News reports about sales of counterfeit semiconductors on Amazon are a reflection of an issue that has long afflicted the chip industry, not just e-commerce retailers, Dylan McGrath writes. The Semiconductor Industry Association has an anti-counterfeiting task force and JEDEC has established the JESD243 standard to help fight the plague of fake chips, he notes.
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