"For it to continue as a pure-play foundry is probably the worst course of action. Splitting it up will probably get more value out of it," Penn told attendees at an Industry Forecast Seminar held in London and organized by market analysis firm Future Horizons.
Despite roadmap announcements (see ) and the declared support of EDA companies Cadence and Synopsys the FDSOI chip manufacturing process being offered by Globalfoundries is struggling to get traction in the market place, Penn said.
The problem is not the technology, which has largely been proved, but with the credibility of the supply chain, Penn said. This supply chain is a fraction of the size of that put together over decades by foundry leader TSMC, and lacks completeness he added.
That credibility is not helped by rumors Globalfoundries is up for sale. "It’s an open secret that the company is up for sale," said Penn (see Report: Abu Dhabi holding talks over GloFo sale ).
Penn said Abu Dhabi would have no problem selling the North American operations as billions of dollars had been invested in New York State wafer fabs. Similarly he said that the Singapore operation, formerly Chartered Semiconductor, had been a good foundry and its emphasis on 200mm wafer production would make it a good acquisition for an analog, mixed-signal, More-than-Moore company.
Which leaves Fab 1 in Dresden, Europe's largest 300mm wafer fab. Penn said that too could be sold because it would attract support from the European Union. "The European Union has said it has no allegiance to who owns the fab but they will support it."
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