Artificial intelligence M&A Semiconductors and 5G Startups

AMD Snaps Up, Looks Poised For Bigger Deals Ahead

Illustration of $100 bills.

As a public company, AMD long held a reputation as a sort of scrappy underdog. After making its major exchange debut in 1979, it mostly trailed archrival Intel by a wide margin for the next 40 years.

In the last few years, however, fortunes have reversed. AMD is now a $174 billion market cap company, surpassing Intel by more than $20 billion. Shares of the resurgent microprocessor giant have multiplied roughly fivefold in the past five years, as investors rewarded its track record of churning out more powerful and energy-efficient chips.

The resulting situation: AMD has the resources and market clout to buy up almost any startup it desires. Today it did just that, snapping up Silicon Valley-based, a developer of software to deploy AI models, that previously raised around $20 million in known funding.

The purchase price wasn’t disclosed, but it’s probably safe to presume this is a comparatively small deal compared to many of AMD’s prior M&A forays. For instance in April 2022, the company announced it was acquiring Pensando, a developer of programmable processors used in cloud computing, in a transaction valued at around $1.9 billion.

The Pensando purchase came less than two months after completion of AMD’s largest purchase to date — the acquisition of Xilinx, a semiconductor company specializing in programmable logic devices. That deal, first announced in October 2020, was estimated to be a $50 billion transaction.

Prior to that AMD had not historically been a particularly acquisitive company for most of its 44-year history. However, it did make at least five known acquisitions between 2002 and 2020, per Crunchbase data. Prices were not disclosed, but none look to be big-ticket purchases based on prior funding.

But market conditions change, as do acquisition strategies. AMD in 2023 looks to be in a pretty good position to carry out M&A deals, with its historically high stock price and billions in cash. Pressure to keep up in emerging spaces, AI in particular, could add to the temptation to buy more companies.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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