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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Advanced Micro Devices (Nasdaq: AMD) agreed to buy rival U.S. chipmaker Xilinx (Nasdaq: XLNX) for $35 billion in stock.

Why it matters: AMD is expanding at the same time that rival Intel is divesting, using the nearly $40 billion in market cap it's gained so far in 2020. The deal also reflects rapid growth of the data center market, due to increased demand from cloud computing giants like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft.

Details: AMD is paying the equivalent of $143 per share, representing nearly a 25% premium to yesterday’s closing price for Xilinx stock.

  • The deal requires regulatory approval, including in China, with AMD estimating that it may not close until early 2022.
  • AMD would be required to pay Xilinx $1.5 billion if it terminates the transaction, while Xilinx would pay $1 billion were it to terminate.

The bottom line: "The deal will give [AMD CEO Lisa] Su more of the pieces she needs to break Intel’s stranglehold on the profitable market for data center computer components. Xilinx... makes field programmable gate arrays, or FPGAs. That kind of chip is unique because its function can be altered by software, even after it’s been installed in a piece of machinery." — Ian King, Bloomberg

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
Jan 13, 2021 - Technology

Intel names former exec Pat Gelsinger as new CEO

Gelsinger. Photo: Intel

Intel said Wednesday that VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger will return to the chipmaker as CEO, with current chief Bob Swan stepping down as of Feb. 15.

Why it matters: Intel faces a host of challenges from manufacturing issues to competition from rival AMD to Apple's move to use homegrown chips in the Mac.

Scoop: U.S. begins denying Afghan immigrants

Afghan refugees on a bus bound for temporary housing after arriving in Greece. Photo: Byron Smith/Getty Images

The Biden administration has begun issuing denials to Afghans seeking to emigrate to the United States through the humanitarian parole process, after a system that typically processes 2,000 applications annually has been flooded with more than 30,000.

Why it matters: Afghans face steeper odds and longer processes for escaping to the U.S., despite the earlier sweeping efforts by the Biden administration to assist its allies. Immigration lawyers and advocacy groups say the government has set untenable barriers to a safe haven in the U.S.

14 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Dems invoke Robert Byrd to sell Manchin on Senate rules changes

Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photos: Diana Walker, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A small group of Senate Democrats is privately invoking the legacy of late West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd in an effort to sway Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to support their plans to change the chamber's rules, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Manchin — who holds Byrd's Senate seat — has often referenced his predecessor's strong moral conviction and insistence on preserving the Senate as an institution, as justification for some of his tough positions.