(Tech stock columnist Jon D. Markman publishes Strategic Advantage, a lively, lucrative guide to investing in the digital transformation of business and society. Click here for a free trial.)
The Wall Street Journal reported July 15 that Intel is in talks to buy GlobalFoundries, a semiconductor fabrication business now owned by the Abu Dhabi government. The news sent the shares of chip companies reeling.
Even if the deal happens it is unlikely to change the industry.
That’s because most of the chips being made by GF are not the cutting-edge processors in now demand by the likes of Apple ( (AAPL) - Get Report), Nvidia ( (NVDA) - Get Report), Qualcomm ( (QCOM) - Get Report), and even AMD.
GF used to be wholly owned by AMD. The two companies still have a manufacturing relationship that accounts for $1.6 billion in annual sales. However, GF has been moving away from leaving leading-edge chip production because its foundries lack the scale to compete with Taiwan Semiconductor ( (TSM) - Get Report) and Samsung.
Nonetheless, the Journal reports the deal could be in the $30 billion range and it would give Intel a leg up in producing the kinds of older chips that are currently in short supply. These chips use older nodes can be made at a significant profit margin.
Investors were wrong to sell semiconductor equipment companies like Applied Materials ( (AMAT) - Get Report), KLA Corp. ( (KLAC) - Get Report) and ASML Holdings ( (ASML) - Get Report) on the GF news. Even if the deal happens it will not impact sales of leading-edge products.
Moreover, as Jim Cramer suggested Tuesday morning, many of these stocks are not nearly as cyclical as investors believe.
He’s right. The digital era means more semiconductors in every part of the economy. Use the current weakness to build positions.