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  • Writer's pictureVeronica Irwin

China approved AMD's $35B acquisition of Xilinx's programmable chips

Just last week, one expert described the odds as being as unpredictable as a "coin toss."


Regulators in China said today they will allow AMD to acquire Xilinx, the Wall Street Journal reports. It’s the last regulatory hurdle the company needed to cross to complete the largest deal in its history.

The potential $35 billion acquisition was plagued by politics and opaque regulatory reviews in China. AMD initially announced the deal in October of 2020, saying it planned to close by the end of 2021. But in the last month of the year, the company said it would delay closing until late March of 2022.

AMD has long trailed its competitor Intel in terms of enterprise tech market share; at the third quarter of 2021, AMD only controlled 10% of the market for x86 processors, while Intel controlled 90%. By acquiring programmable chipmaker Xilinx — one half of a FPGA duopoly between the company and Altera, owned by Intel — AMD thinks it will be able to make inroads with data-center chip buyers.

One expert told Protocol last week that the odds of the deal could as unpredictable as a “coin toss.” Others compared the deal to Qualcomm’s bid for NXP, a Dutch chipmaker, that became entangled with the 2017 trade war (which China denies). But others had been less critical, saying the deal had been proceeding more smoothly than others assumed.

AMD was required to re-file its paperwork with U.S. regulators after the deal was delayed into 2022, which will hold up the closing a little longer but isn't expected to derail the process. In a statement, AMD said it still expects the deal to close in the first quarter of 2022.

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