The proposed Micron fab purchase would nearly double TowerJazz’s current internal manufacturing capacity, increasing cost effective production by some 60,000 wafers per month.
Availability of additional capacity is needed to serve the growing demands of its expanding blue chip customer base, combined with the additional business potential in Japan, and expected to help TowerJazz achieve its $1bn annual revenue run rate by 2014.
As part of the proposed acquisition, the companies anticipate that they will sign a supply agreement for TowerJazz to manufacture products for Micron in the Japan facility for approximately the next three years.
The facility can support geometries down to 95nm and can also be used to manufacture other products using TowerJazz process technologies.
TowerJazz plans to quickly qualify its core power management platforms to serve the substantial growth demand from its Korean customers and then build high end RF capabilities.
Increased manufacturing scale and expanded addressable market would further support TowerJazz’s strategy to extend its position as the number one specialty foundry worldwide. The acquisition would be the most recent in a series of achievements TowerJazz has accomplished, including its goal of exceeding half a billion dollars in annual sales.
The total value of the proposed transaction, including assumed liabilities, is anticipated to approximate $140M, of which $40 million would be paid in cash, approximately 20m of Tower ordinary shares would be issued to Micron Technology or its Japanese subsidiary and the remainder is assumed long-term retirement liabilities that would be payable incrementally upon employee retirements. The parties are currently negotiating definitive agreements for the proposed transaction.
This month the Tower and Jazz merger of 2008 has claimed industry’s highest speed SiGe foundry process technology, labeled SBC18H3. This third generation 0.18µm SiGe technology, offers transistors with 240GHz transit frequency (Ft) and 260GHz maximum frequency (Fmax).
The technology is built on the mature integration platform used for the prior two TowerJazz SiGe processes now in high-volume production (SBC18H2 at 200GHz and SBC18HX at 155GHz).
The IP of high-speed components such as TIAs, laser drivers, SerDes, CDRs from H2 and HX can be readily ported to the new H3 process, since they are all in the same 0.18µm node, bringing benefits from improved performance as well as reduced power consumption and noise, said TowerJazz.
Power consumption is dramatically reduced. A 77GHz amplifier can be made to consume three times less DC power than previously possible. Simultaneously, noise is improved to levels far exceeding prior SiGe technology and even superior to those of more expensive III-V material systems. Minimum noise figure at 20 GHz is measured at less than 1dB and at 40 GHz at only 2dB.
“SBC18H3 extends our leadership position in providing the highest speed SiGe foundry services,” said Marco Racanelli, senior VP and GM of the RF and High Performance Analog Business Group
“The process extends the high-end of our overall portfolio of SiGe technology that currently spans from the 0.35 µm to the 0.13 µm node and available in two of our 8-inch factories for flexibility of supply and capacity.”