Micron to acquire remaining stake in Intel’s 3D XPoint flash factory

Micron wants to acquire Intel’s remaining stake in the 3D XPoint flash factory. Micron and Intel developed the memory together in a joint venture, but previously announced that they would stop doing so. Micron expects to pay $1.5 billion.

Micron says it can initiate the acquisition on January 1, 2019, and expects it to take between six and 12 months for the deal to close. When that happens, Micron will take full ownership of IM Flash Technologies’ facilities, including the Utah facility that makes 3D XPoint memory. Intel uses that memory for its Optane SSDs.

As part of the deal, Micron will supply wafers with 3D XPoint memory to Intel at current prices for up to one year after the deal is finalized. If Intel wants to continue to release Optane products after that, it will have to enter into a new agreement with Micron.

At the beginning of this year, Intel and Micron announced that they would end their collaboration. In July, the companies clarified that they will continue until the second half of 2019 to complete development of the second-generation 3D XPoint.

The two companies use the same memory technology, but develop products separately. Micron does that with the QuantX name and Intel with Optane. Micron hasn’t launched any products yet, Intel has. Micron says it is working with manufacturers and that QuantX products will hit the market by the end of 2019.

Intel and Micron began working together to develop flash memory in 2006. In 2012, Intel reduced all of its stake in IMFT, leaving only the Utah fab as joint ownership. The companies do not comment on the reason why the collaboration is ending. This may be due to disagreements about production methods. If Micron gets the full stake, it can determine the roadmap for further memory development on its own.