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Tundra out to buy PowerPC product lines off Motorola

Negotiations underway

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Tundra Semiconductor has confirmed it is in talks to buy part of Motorola's PowerPC product line.

The announcement follows the inadvertent leaking of a press release stating the two companies had reached an agreement. 'We haven't - but we're trying to get one,' was the essence of Tundra's statement. It expects to know one way or t'other within two weeks' time.

Tundra is after Motorola's Host Bridge PowerPC products. Mac users keen to see a little more life introduced into the Motorola's G4 processor line before Apple shifts entirely to IBM's G5 will be disappointed. The parts Tundra has its eye on are the MPC1xx PCI bridge chips with integrated memory controllers. Essentially the chips connect CPU to memory to PCI bus. Apple has its own technology for this role.

However, the deal does confirm that Motorola is willing to sell off semiconductor product lines. Indeed, it's rumoured to be considering a sale of the whole chip division.

Motorola management said a few years back that if the company's Semiconductor Products Sector (SPS) failed to improve its financial position, it would be put up for sale. It now seems that in recent times that point has been reached, and the unit will be sold if a buyer can be found. STMicroelectronics has been mentioned as a possible suitor, though both companies have denied being in talks.

The Tundra deal isn't so far-reaching. Tundra has been a Motorola partner for some time. Indeed, it took over Motorola's RapidIO system interconnect design work back in September 2000, allowing the chip giant to concentrate on processors rather than chipset logic. The PowerPC PCI Bridge deal is essentially an extension of that relationship.

Tundra said that if an agreement is reached, it expects the purchase price will be paid by Tundra in cash and that no Tundra shares will be issued to Motorola. ®

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