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AMD spins The Foundry, no thanks to apathetic investors

What's it take to get a majority here?

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It's officially splitsville for AMD and its chip-making business.

Yesterday, AMD shareholders gave final approval to spin the company's debt-dependent semiconductor unit into The Foundry Company, placing it under the wing of Abu Dhabi investors at the Advanced Technology Investment Company.

By all means, it's a radical shift in AMD's business – yet oddly the company's investors don't seem to care much about the decision one way or the other.

Last week, AMD had to push back its special shareholder meeting after it couldn't muster up enough votes to make the decision. Only 42 per cent of AMD's stock was represented at the January 15 meeting. To reach quorum, AMD needs a majority.

This time the vote squeaked by with a barely-acceptable 50.26 shares represented. Of the bunch, 94 per cent of shares presented voted in favor of spinning The Foundry Company.

With the terms of the transaction met, the deal is expected to close on or before March 2, 2009. The Foundry Company will be 34.2 per cent owned by AMD with both companies holding equal voting rights.

The spin has been a somewhat bumpy ride for AMD, with Intel antagonism and it's shares de-valued along the way. So what's with light attendance? Are AMD investors really so apathetic or clueless about the company that they can't bother to vote yes or no on a major decision? ®

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