Why it matters: Intel has completed the first step of its transaction to sell its solid-state drive business to SK Hynix. The deal, if you recall, was announced in October 2020. At the time, Intel agreed to jettison its NAND SSD business, its NAND component and wafer business, and its Dalian NAND memory manufacturing facility in China for a total of $9 billion.
This first phase will see SK Hynix hand over $7 billion, with Intel retaining certain IP related to the manufacture and design of NAND flash wafers. The chipmaker will be able to continue to use the Dalian facility to manufacture wafers until the final closing, which is expected to take place no sooner than March 2025.
Upon final closing, SK Hynix will take over of the remaining SSD assets from Intel, including R&D employees, for an additional $2 billion.
SK Hynix is rolling the assets into a new subsidiary called Solidigm, a name said to reflect a new paradigm in solid-state storage. The outfit will be led by Robert B. Crooke, who previously served as SVP and GM of Intel's Non-Volatile Memory Solutions Group, and will be headquartered in San Jose.
Intel said it will use proceeds from the sale to "deliver leadership products and advance its long-term growth priorities."
With the sale, it would seem as though Intel's experiment with storage tech is officially over. Earlier this year, Micron halted production of 3D XPoint, a memory technology jointly announced by Micron and Intel in 2015. Over the summer, Micron agreed to sell its 3D XPoint fab to Texas Instruments for $900 million.
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