Chipping away

It’s one down and (at least) one to go for AMD. The battered chip maker moved earlier this week to dump its digital TV (DTV) chip business to longtime partner Broadcom. AMD will pocket $193m in cash from the divestiture. Although the unit had been on the block for some time, AMD got a decent price for the cast-off. We understand the DTV unit was generating in the neighborhood of $150m in sales, meaning AMD got more than the typical ‘1x and done’ divestiture multiple. Further, we would note that the valuation of the DTV business at 1.3x sales is about twice AMD’s own price-to-sales valuation.

With one of the legacy ATI Technologies businesses off the books, AMD can move on to unwinding yet another part of that disastrous acquisition. (Since AMD spent $5.4bn in cash and stock on graphics chip company ATI two years ago, shares of the second-largest chipmaker for computers have plummeted 70%.) The next unit on the auction block: Processors for multimedia applications that run on mobile phones. Rival Intel made a similar move two years ago, selling its communications processor unit to Marvell Technology for $600m, which valued the unit at an estimated 1.5x sales. We suspect AMD would be perfectly happy with that kind of valuation in any divestiture of its mobile business. As to who might be on the other side of the deal, two companies come immediately to mind: Qualcomm is always on the lookout for more IP, and communications chipmaker Atheros has done three acquisitions in the past two years and is said to be looking for more.