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Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Intel, STMicroelectronics And Francisco Partners Establish New Flash Memory Company


STMicroelectronics, Intel and Francisco Partners today announced they have entered into an agreement to create a new semiconductor company related to flash memory products.

The new company's strategic focus will be on supplying flash memory solutions for a variety of consumer and industrial devices, including cellular phones, MP3 players, digital cameras, computers and other high-tech equipment.

The new company will combine key research and development, manufacturing and sales and marketing assets of Intel and STMicroelectronics into a streamlined structure with the scale to produce cost-effective non-volatile memory solutions.

"The new company will be positioned to service customers with all of the elements necessary to deliver current and next-generation non-volatile memory technologies, while allowing ST to redefine its participation in flash memory," said Carlo Bozotti, STMicroelectronics president and CEO, and non-executive chairman designate of the new company.

"From the outset, the company will be a leading supplier of flash memory solutions for wireless communications," said Brian Harrison, named to become the CEO of the new company at the close of the transaction and currently vice president and general manager of Intel's Flash Memory Group. "We will be able to offer customers complete solutions with NOR- and NAND-based technologies, which we believe will provide significant opportunities for growth and the potential to develop products for many new application areas and geographic regions."

Under the terms of the agreement, STMicroelectronics will sell its flash memory assets, including its NAND joint venture interest and other NOR resources, to the new company while Intel will sell its NOR assets and resources. In exchange, Intel will receive a 45.1 percent equity ownership stake and a $432 million cash payment at close. STMicroelectronics will receive a 48.6 percent equity ownership stake and a $468 million cash payment at close. Francisco Partners L.P., a Menlo Park, Calif.-based private equity firm, will invest $150 million in cash for convertible preferred stock representing a 6.3 percent ownership interest, subject to adjustment in certain circumstances. Concurrently, the parties have arranged for the new company to receive firm commitments for a $1.3 billion term loan and $250 million revolver. The term loan will be underwritten by a consortium of banks. Proceeds from the term loan will be used for working capital and payment to Intel and STMicroelectronics for the purchase price. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions and is expected to occur in the second half of 2007.

The new company will be headquartered in Switzerland and incorporated in the Netherlands with nine main research and manufacturing locations around the world and approximately 8,000 employees.

"With assets and resources from Intel and STMicroelectronics, including a patent portfolio of approximately 2,500 patents and 1000 patents pending, the new company will benefit from the increasing demand for memory resulting from the growing amount of information and content that is becoming more mobile and is now based almost entirely on digital technology, the companies said in a statement."


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