SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Silicon foundry upstart LFoundry GmbH has signed a deal to purchase Atmel Corp.'s wafer fab in Rousset, France.
Atmel has been trying to sell the fab for some time, as part of an ongoing move to divest non-core businesses and become a pure microcontroller play.
Based on the proposed terms of the French fab sale, San Jose-based Atmel expects to record a non-cash impairment charge not to exceed $200 million in the fourth quarter of 2009. Further terms of the deal were not disclosed.
In accordance with French law, Atmel has presented the proposed acquisition to the employee representatives of the Works Council in Rousset. The Works Council is expected to render its opinion on the proposed transaction in the first quarter of 2010.
If Atmel receives the approval of the Works Council, Atmel will seek authorization from its board to enter into a definitive agreement with LFoundry.
Atmel would be happy to unload the fab. Angry workers at Atmel's fab in Rousset have been on an unlimited strike. Started on Nov. 17, the ''unlimited strike'' aims to protest against Atmel's decision to sell its site in Rousset without guaranteeing its employees that the plan, signed in March 2009.
At the same time, LFoundry gains new capacity. "This proposed acquisition positions the combined company as the largest analog and mixed-signal pure play foundry in Europe and is very strategic to our mission of rapidly growing our foundry business,'' said Michael Lehnert, LFoundry's chief executive, in a statement.
Last year, Japan's Renesas Technology Corp. sold its German subsidiary wafer fab, Renesas Semiconductor Europe (Landshut) GmbH, to Silicon Foundry Holding GmbH, a company set up by two former Renesas managers.
The company, known as LFoundry, will act as a local foundry specialized in analog and mixed-signal production aimed at servicing the European market.