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AMD Acquires Semiconductor Company Xilinx for $50 Billion in its Push into the Automotive Hardware Space

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【Summary】​Computer hardware giant AMD has completed its previously announced acquisition of semiconductor company Xilinx in an all-stock transaction valued at $50 billion. The acquisition plans were first announced in Oct 2020. With the addition of Xilinx, AMD expands its product portfolio and software expertise to a wide range of intelligent computing applications from the data center to the edge to end devices.

Eric Walz    Feb 14, 2022 10:00 AM PT
AMD Acquires Semiconductor Company Xilinx for $50 Billion in its Push into the Automotive Hardware Space

Computer hardware giant AMD has completed its previously announced acquisition of semiconductor company Xilinx Inc in an all-stock transaction. The acquisition plans were first announced in Oct 2020.

The acquisition of Xilinx by AMD will significantly expand the company's portfolio of computing, graphics and adaptive system-on-a-chip (SoC) products. It will increase AMD's total addressable market from $80 billion to $135 billion, which includes both the computing processing market and automotive space.

The deal to Acquire Xilinx was originally valued at $35 billion, but AMD's rising stock price pushed up the transaction price.

With the addition of Xilinx, AMD expands its product portfolio and software expertise to power a wide range of intelligent applications, including from the data center to the edge to end devices. 

AMD will tap into Xilinx's experience in hardware development, including integrated circuit (IC) die stacking and packaging technology, chiplet and interconnect technology, AI and domain-specific architectures.

The acquisition will also allow AMD to further scale its research and development work. The combined R&D investments of the two companies last year was roughly $3.8 billion.

Xilinx was founded in 1984 and is based in San Jose, Calif. The company is recognized as the inventor of the field programmable gate array (FPGA), which serves as a blank slate for hardware developers because it is programmable. The company's product portfolio includes hardware for wired and wireless communications, broadcasting, automotive, aerospace and defense. 

Former Xilinx CEO Victor Peng will join AMD as president of its newly formed Adaptive and Embedded Computing Group ("AECG"), which will remain focused on its current FPGA, Adaptive SoC and software roadmap that Xilinx was working on. The Xilinx technology will be combined with AMD CPUs and GPUs.

Like computer hardware companies Qualcomm, Nvidia and Intel Inc, Xilinx was actively expanding into the automotive space over the past several years, as demand steadily grew for high performance SoCs for the auto industry.

As automakers around the world offer vehicles with standard advanced driver assist systems (ADAS) and level-2 autonomous driving capabilities, there is a growing demand in the adaptive computing market, which includes customizable SoCs that can process data from dozens of vehicle sensors in real time, as well as run computationally intensive AI-powered machine learning algorithms.

FPGAs are an ideal solution, since they can be customized to support specific vehicle functions. Xilinx's FPGA technology provides automotive engineers and software developers with the flexibility to design the next generation of these vehicle systems.

"The acquisition of Xilinx brings together a highly complementary set of products, customers and markets combined with differentiated IP and world-class talent to create the industry's high-performance and adaptive computing leader," said AMD President and CEO Dr. Lisa Su. "Xilinx offers industry-leading FPGAs, adaptive SoCs, AI engines and software expertise that enable AMD to offer the strongest portfolio of high-performance and adaptive computing solutions in the industry and capture a larger share of the approximately $135 billion market opportunity we see across cloud, edge and intelligent devices."

In June 2021, Xilinx unveiled the new Versal AI Edge series, which was the newest member of its Versal Adaptive Compute Acceleration Platform (ACAP). 

The ACAP is a fully software-programmable compute platform that combines scalar and adaptable processing engines that achieve dramatic performance improvements of up to 20X over today's fastest FPGA implementations and over 100X over today's fastest CPU implementations for automotive ADAS applications, according to Xilinx. 

For a self-driving car, these adaptable engines are used for preprocessing and sensor fusion tasks.

The Versal AI Edge for example, delivers performance up to 479 TOPS, which far exceeds that of conventional CPUs, GPUs and FPGAs, according to Xilinx. It delivers 4 times the AI performance-per-watt versus GPUs, such as the NVIDIA DRIVE Xavier SoC.

"The rapid expansion of connected devices and data-intensive applications with embedded AI are driving the growing demand for highly efficient and adaptive high-performance computing solutions," said Peng. "Bringing AMD and Xilinx together will accelerate our ability to define this new era of computing by providing the most comprehensive portfolio of adaptive computing platforms capable of powering a wide range of intelligent applications."

In Sept 2020, Xilinx and automotive supplier Continental created what they claim is the world's first production ready 4D radar for autonomous vehicles. The radar sensor was built on the Xilinx Zynq UltraScale multiprocessor system on a chip (MPSoC).  

More recently in Aug 2021, Xilinx announced a collaboration with convolutional neural network (CNN) IP developer by Motovis on an autonomous vehicle camera perception system built on the Xilinx Automotive Zynq system-on-chip (SoC). The hardware and software serves as a base layer to support computer vision processing and perception tasks.

Now with the combined strengths of both AMD and Xilinx, the two companies will have more than 15,000 engineers working towards a common goal to help expand the R&D scale and strengthen the long-term product and solutions roadmaps for both AMD and Xilinx customers.

As part of the deal, Current Xilinx stockholders receive 1.7234 shares of AMD common stock and cash in lieu of any fractional shares for each share of Xilinx common stock they hold. Xilinx stock will no longer be listed on the NASDAQ.

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