GlobalFoundries, itself formed as a spin-off of AMD's manufacturing arm, has announced that it is splitting its custom silicon business into a wholly-owned subsidiary company: Avera Semiconductor.

Formed when at-the-time financially ailing AMD spun out its manufacturing arm as The Foundry Company, eventually selling up its stake in the company and making the transition to fabless semiconductor firm, GlobalFoundries has itself been struggling of late: Back in August it announced it was to put its 7nm process node on indefinite hold, despite chief executive Sanjay Jha having described it as the 'next long-lived node' just two years earlier when the company pledged to skip straight past 10nm in order to get the jump on its competition.

Now under the leadership of former IBM staffer Dr. Thomas Caulfied, GlobalFoundries is making another major change: The spinning out of its custom silicon efforts into a distinct company, Avera Semiconductor, which will start life off as a wholly-owned subsidiary but could well be bait for external investment.

'I couldn't imagine a better time to launch a new venture focused on delivering custom ASIC [Application Specific Integrated Circuit] solutions,' claims Kevin O'Buckley, who will lead the company after having joined GlobalFoundries following its acquisition of IBM Microelectronics in 2015. 'Data traffic and bandwidth demands have exploded, and next-generation systems for cloud and communications must deliver more performance and handle more complexity than ever before. Avera Semi has the right combination of expertise and technology to help our clients design and build high-performance, highly optimised semiconductor solutions.'

The newly-formed company will, interestingly, offer parts on a variety of process nodes up to and including 7nm - for which it has developed 'a newly established foundry partnership,' most likely with GlobalFoundries' rival Taiwan Semiconductor (TSMC).


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