Micron has made good on its promise to buy out Intel's share of the Intel-Micron Flash (IM Flash) joint venture, in a move which the company claims will 'accelerate our R&D and optimise our manufacturing plant for 3D XPoint.'
The Intel-Micron Flash Technologies (IM Flash) joint venture was set up by the two companies as a collaborative investigation into new non-volatile flash-style memory products. Since its formation, it has released a range of products from quad-level cell (QLC) 3D NAND parts to high-speed 3D XPoint which Intel commercialised under the Optane brand. The partnership, however, has not been entirely smooth, and back in January 2018 the companies announced plans to dissolve the joint venture even as they expanded the shared manufacturing facilities.
In October last year Micron announced it would exercise its contractual option to acquire Intel's share of the joint venture in a deal which valued it at $1.5 billion in cash and a further $1 billion in acquired debt. At the time, Micron president and chief executive Sanjay Mehrotra claimed the move 'demonstrates our strong belief that 3D XPoint technology and other emerging memories will provide a unique differentiator for the company and be an essential solution for new data-hungry applications.'
Micron promised to exercise its option some time in early 2019, and right on schedule the company has announced the deal is going ahead. ''The IM Flash acquisition will enable Micron to accelerate our R&D [Research and Development] and optimise our manufacturing plan for 3D XPoint,' claims Mehrotra in his latest statement on the matter. 'The Utah-based [fabrication] facility provides us with the manufacturing flexibility and highly skilled talent to drive 3D XPoint development and innovation, and to deliver on our emerging technology roadmap.'
The pricing of the acquisition remains the same, at $1.5 billion in cash. Intel, for its part, has confirmed it will continue to use the facility to produce Optane parts - but it will now do so as a customer of Micron, rather than a partner.