Next week, there is supposed to be a press gathering at Dresden where AMD is supposed to explain its “asset light” plan.
A couple people already think they know what’s going to happen, Charlie Demerjian and Theo Valich. They think Santa is going to pay a special visit to Dresden, with so much cash packed in his sleigh for Hector that his reindeer will get ruptures hauling it.
Well, not really. Neither Hector nor Charlie nor Theo expect Santa Claus to show up. They expect Arab Claus to make an appearance.
Well, not necessarily, either. Neither said Arab Claus would show up next week. But seriously, both believe that the same folks who bought an 8% stake in AMD some months back are going to end up paying AMD billions and billions of dollars for a minority share in a company created as an AMD spinoff which will primarily contain AMD’s fabs. There’s probably a lot more to the deal than that, but the key term is “billions and billions of dollars.”
And a growing number of people in the financial world are beginning to believe it, too.
How believable is this story? Well, I have a bit of a problem believing this one for pretty much the same reason I have problems believing in Claus, Santa or otherwise.
First, Mubadala Abu Dhabi is still down about $300 million on its initial $600 million investment. That’s usually not the best incentive to chuck a ton more into the pot.
Second, if this deal really exists, it’s effectively a takeover in disguise because, like Santa, there really isn’t an Arab Claus. The initial deal will be structured to meet the terms of the AMD-Intel patent swap agreement, but that deal is due for renewal in a few years, and rest assured there will be something in the fine print that will allow for an effective takeover after that happens. This is probably why Heck and Dirk weren’t bragging about this at the annual meeting a few days ago; what would be great for AMD, the company would probably be terrible for the current AMD shareholders.
Third, as we pointed out when these stories began, such a takeover would be likely to cause a huge political firestorm in the U.S..
None of these are stone cold killer reasons for this deal not to take place, and if it is real and ready to fly, chances are we’ll hear about it next week.