The Intel-Micron Flash Technologies joint venture, known as IM Flash, is finally coming to a heavily-telegraphed closed with Micron announcing its intention to buy out partner Intel in a deal valued at $1.5 billion in cash and $1 billion in acquired debt.

While responsible for the development of a range of new flash devices, including quad-level cell (QLC) 3D NAND technology and 3D XPoint, commercialised by Intel under the Optane brand name, things haven't been going all that smoothly for the Intel-Micron Flash Technologies joint venture. Earlier this year the two companies confirmed they were winding the partnership down, finishing the development of third-generation 3D XPoint but going their separate ways after that. Exactly how and when the venture would be dissolved, though, wasn't revealed - but Micron has now gone public with its exit strategy.

In an announcement to investors and press made late last night, Micron confirmed a plan to acquire Intel's share of IM Flash in a deal valued at $1.5 billion in cash and $1 billion in acquired debt. 'Micron's acquisition of IM Flash 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,' claims Micron president and chief executive Sanjay Mehrotra. 'This investment provides Micron with an established development and manufacturing facility and a highly skilled workforce with a strong track record of innovation and execution.'

The offer is to be exercised, Micron reveals, in early 2019, and is expected to close between six and twelve months after that date. In-keeping with the companies' prior statements on the matter, joint manufacturing of 3D XPoint wafers - which Micron has yet to launch commercially, targeting a late 2019 commercial availability with volume production in early 2020 - would continue through to the closure of the transaction, while Micron pledges to continue supplying Intel with wafers for up to a year after.

Intel has not publicly commented on the plan, which still needs shareholder approval to go forward.


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