NatSemi to ‘announce Cyrix sale’

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NatSemi is to sell Cyrix less than two years after buying the company, according to PC Week Online's Lisa DiCarlo. Quoting sources, DiCarlo reveals NatSemi will tell the world today that it's put its system-on-a-chip vendor on the block. The company has scheduled early morning calls with analysts to announce the move, she says. We will report developments as and when they happen. In the meantime, congratulations to Lisa for her scoop. In July 1997, NatSemi paid $550 million for Cyrix. How much does it think it will get now? Will it try to bundle its fab into any sale? And is there a buyer in the wings? NatSemi brought fab capacity and money to the party. Cyrix brought along the MII, a neat low-cost system on a chip design, and a good design team, and an insignificant market share. Cyrix lacked -- and lacks -- the bulk to compete head-on with AMD even, let alone Intel. It does not have the wherewithal to drag itself too far up the processor value chain. In the company's latest roadmap it is positioning new offerings against K6-2s and Celerons. But there is a serious risk of Cyrix becoming marooned at the low-margin low-end, just as competition is hotting up with the arrival of new kids on the block, Rise and Transmeta. In recent weeks, there has been much speculation over IBM's interest in buying Cyrix, but a Cyrix insider said the stories, tracked down to postings made by share rampers on US bulletin boards, were complete and utter mistruths. ®

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