SkyWater is backed by Minnesota-based holding company Oxbow Industries LLC and will operate the fab as a stand-alone specialized foundry. It will manufacture wafers for Cypress under a multi-year supply agreement while it tries to attract other foundry customers.
It was not disclosed how much semiconductor IP was included in the sale but it is likely to include certain basic fundamental manufacturing processes to allow the company to cooperate with other customers to build up its foundry business.
The transaction allows Cypress to reduce its manufacturing footprint and cost structure while increasing the utilization of its Fab 25 located in Austin, Texas. Cypress has had the Bloomington wafer fab up for sale for 14 months (see Cypress puts wafer fab up for sale). Cypress has operated the automotive-qualified fab since it acquired it from Control Data VTC in 1990. The fab has a clean room floor space of 80,000 square feet and was capable of 16,700 wafer starts per month. Cypress had about 450 employees at the Bloomington wafer fab in December 2015.
“This agreement allows Cypress to maintain uninterrupted wafer supply for our products manufactured at the fab, with no disruptions for our customers, and it gives our former employees in Minnesota the opportunity to help the new business flourish and continue the fab’s tradition of quality U.S.-based manufacturing,” said Hassane El-Khoury, CEO of Cypress, in a statement.
Seattle-based ATREG Inc. acted as Cypress’ advisor for the sale. “We have been seeing renewed interest in 200mm production assets lately. Given the lack of 200mm equipment in the secondary market, integrated device manufacturers (IDMs) and foundries are acquiring operational 200mm fabs to satisfy growing 200mm production needs.” said Stephen Rothrock, CEO of ATREG, in a statement.
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