According to reports, the chip company Sifive has obtained an intention to acquire it, Intel has put forward an acquisition offer of more than US$2 billion (approximately RMB 12.7 billion), and Sifive has negotiated with a number of potential consultants.
According to people familiar with the matter, negotiations are still at an early stage and there is no guarantee that an agreement will be reached. SiFive may choose to remain independent. In addition, many companies have expressed their willingness to invest in SiFive, and this choice may be more feasible.
What kind of company is SiFive?
Founded in 2015, SiFive is the world’s first semiconductor company based on the RISC-V architecture. The company is trying to introduce open source standards into the semiconductor design field to make it cheaper and more acceptable to customers. In 2020, SiFive has raised US$61 million in Series E financing, led by South Korea’s SK Hynix, new investors Prosperity7 Ventures and existing investors Sutter Hill Ventures, Western Digital’s venture capital arm, Qualcomm Ventures (Qualcomm Ventures) , Intel Capital, Osage University Partners and Spark Capital participated in the investment, and its valuation at the time was approximately US$500 million.
SiFive is using the RISC-V architecture to design the computing core and provide chip core IP. Although the underlying architecture of these cores is open source, the specific core design itself can be sold. The company is trying to introduce open source standards into the field of semiconductor design to make it cheaper and more acceptable to customers. So far, SiFive has established in-depth cooperative relationships with many internationally renowned semiconductor manufacturers.
It is worth mentioning that Nvidia announced last year that it would acquire Softbank’s Arm for US$40 billion, and Arm is SiFive’s biggest competitor. Arm is the largest IP provider in the mobile and IoT markets. However, with the rise of the open source RISC-V architecture, SiFive has begun to be regarded as a strong competitor of Arm.
What can Intel get by acquiring SiFive?
Intel’s acquisition of SiFive has undoubtedly brought another huge shock to the industry. If SiFive agrees to the terms proposed by Intel, this will be Intel’s largest acquisition in recent years. For Intel, the acquisition of SiFive can bring them an intellectual property library, which can be used on its own chips, or it can provide licenses to future customers. At the same time, Intel will also get an upgrade in its software business.
As we all know, the Intel-led x86 architecture occupies a dominant position in the field of CPU instruction set architecture, and the other two chip architectures that are capable of competing against courtesy are ARM and RISC-V. In recent years, the RISC-V ecological lineup has grown rapidly. Thousands of companies around the world have joined the RISC-V Foundation and have launched a large number of RISC-V-based chip products in the past few years. With its open source, free, scalable, and modular features, RISC-V is becoming more and more popular in the semiconductor IP market, especially the RISC-V board of directors. 80% of the highest-level members have been applied for by Chinese companies. It is conceivable that How hot it is in the domestic market.
However, neither of these companies has responded positively to the matter.