In a brief news release from Intel this afternoon, the chip firm has announced that it has closed on the first stage of its deal to sell its SSD business to SK hynix. As of today, SK hynix has now formally acquired the bulk of Intel’s NAND and SSD businesses, as well as the company’s NAND fab in Dalian, China. Intel will continue to hold a small stake until 2025, and in the meantime Intel’s former SSD assets have been spun-off into a new SK hynix subsidiary, Solidigm.
The Intel-SK hynix deal was first announced in October of 2020, with the two companies inking a deal to transfer over Intel’s NAND and SSD operations over to SK hynix over a several year timeframe. The deal, valued at $9 billion, would see Intel retain all of their Optane/3D XPoint technology and patents, while SK Hynix would receive all of Intel’s NAND-related business, including the Dalian NAND fab and Intel’s SSD business interests.
Now, with approval of the deal from all of the necessary regulatory bodies, the two companies have been able to close on the first part of the deal. The “first closing,” as Intel puts it, has transferred the Dalian fab as well as part of Intel’s SSD IP portfolio to SK hynix. Some employees are also being transferred – essentially all those who aren’t working for the fab or are involved in R&D. In return, SK hynix has paid Intel the first $7 billion of the deal.
The rest of the deal is set to close in three and a half years from now, in or around March of 2025. From now until then, Intel will continue to use the Dalian fab to manufacture NAND wafers. To do so, Intel has held on to some of their NAND-related IP, their R&D employees, and the fab employees. All of those assets will then finally be transferred to SK hynix once the deal fully closes and SK hynix pays Intel the final $2 billion.
Finally, SK hynix is taking the Intel assets they’ve acquired thus far and placing them into a new spin-off company, Solidigm. The standalone subsidiary, whose name is apparently a play on “paradigm” and “solid state storage” has setup shop in San Jose, and is being run by former Intel Non-Volatile Memory Solutions Group SVP and GM, Rob Crooke. Solidigm, in turn, has inherited Intel’s current NAND SSD product lineup; so Intel’s 660p and 670p client SSDs, as well as their D3/D5/D7 data center SSDs, are now in the process of becoming Solidigm products.