Will GlobalFoundries Inc. or some other manifestation of the oil-rich state of Abu Dhabi, be buying the chip R&D and business interests of IBM any time soon? And what would be the price?
With GlobalFoundries bringing up its Fab 8 in Malta, New York, and their long mutual history, it would
make a great deal of sense to bundle up a lot of IBM's researchers, R&D,
patents and its 300-mm wafer fab at East Fishkill and hand them over.
One sticking point might be the price.
Lenovo paid about $1.75 billion for IBM's PC business back in 2005. But
at how much would you value IBM's chip business and semiconductor
research? Is $1 billion too much? Is $2 billion not enough?
Two other sticking points might be U.S. national security and national pride.
its investment decisions and with public authority support IBM has helped
revitalize the northeast of the United States and New York State in particular. It has
helped to bring GlobalFoundries, Sematech, and the Global 450
Consortium to come and work in New York. Only last September IBM pledged to
contribute $3.6 billion to a $4.4 billion five-year spend on the future
of chipmaking, backed by the state of New York.
While IBM must do the right thing by shareholders,
it is in a position to co-operate with United States' strategic
objectives, be they economic or related to the strategic ability to
manufacture leading-edge chips. If IBM's chip business fell under the control of Abu Dhabi
that would no longer be certain.