Intel announced on October 3, 2023 that it plans to IPO its programmable chip unit, Programmable Solutions Group (PSG), within three years. The move is part of Intel’s broader strategy to focus on its core businesses and divest non-core assets.
When Intel acquired Altera for $16.7 billion in 2015, it took over this business. The programmable chips, which are designed for a single task and used in everything from encrypting data to 5G wireless communications equipment, sit between Intel’s general purpose chips and the chip that is intended for one specific job.
After the news on Tuesday, the stock price of the chip manufacturer increased 2.3% in after-hours trade.
As it moves toward independence, Intel’s Programmable Solutions Group will have its own balance sheet. PSG’s CEO will be Sandra Rivera, who now oversees Intel’s larger Data Center and AI department. Chips for the collective will be produced by Intel.
Rivera revealed the company is increasingly employing Intel’s factories rather than the Taiwanese ones where its chips were formerly produced during a conference call with investors. Fighter planes and other military applications use programmable electronics.
The IPO of PSG is expected to generate billions of dollars for Intel. The company can use the proceeds to invest in its core businesses, such as data center chips and processors for PCs. Intel can also use the proceeds to pay down debt or repurchase shares.
The IPO of PSG is also a positive sign for the programmable chip industry. The industry is growing rapidly, and the IPO of PSG will help to raise awareness and investment in the industry.
The move also illustrates the high demand for field programmable gate arrays, or FPGAs, within the semiconductor industry. The stock of Lattice Semiconductor, a maker of FPGAs, has increased 30% year to date in 2023 and the company reported an 18% increase in sales for the most recent quarter. In 2022, AMD, the main rival to Intel, bought FPGA manufacturer Xilinx for $35 billion.