Nat Semi reveals price for Cyrix sell-off to Via

Nat Semi reveals price for Cyrix sell-off to Via

National Semiconductor announced on Wednesday an approximate sell-off price for the assets of its Cyrix subsidiary to Taiwanese chipset maker Via Technologies -- $US167 million.

The price is substantially less than what National Semiconductor paid for Cyrix when it purchased the PC processor maker back in July 1997. When the two companies announced the acquisition, the stock swap purchase was valued at $US550 million.

National Semiconductor and Via have now signed a definitive agreement on the Cyrix sale, with the deal expected to close within a month, subject to government approvals, National Semiconductor said in a release. The pair signed a letter of intent relating to the sale on June 30, although at that time the value of the deal was not disclosed.

Only part of the $US167 million is due at the close of the sell-off, with the rest of the sale price dependent on how well the Cyrix product portfolio fares in generating future sales, National Semiconductor said in the statement. A report in Wednesday's Wall Street Journal estimated that the initial payment by Via to National Semiconductor will be in the order of $US80 million.

Under the terms of the agreement, Via will acquire Cyrix's MII x86-compatible processor and its successor products which compete in the PC arena with chips from Intel and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).

Meanwhile, National Semiconductor will hang onto Cyrix's integrated MediaGX processor since the chip is the basis for the company's Geode product range aimed at the information appliance market, the vendor said. The first Geode processor, the SC1 4000, which brings together digital video and PC functions such as system logic, graphics and MPEG video decompression, made its market debut last month.

Over the coming month, National Semiconductor and Via will collaborate on coming up with a transition plan embracing Cyrix customers, staff and products. The bulk of the Cyrix assets that Via will acquire are situated in Cyrix's former headquarters in Richardson, Texas, as well as in Arlington, Texas; Mesa, Arizona; and Santa Clara, California. There are also some Cyrix manufacturing assets in Singapore, National Semiconductor said.

In June of this year, National Semiconductor announced a fourth-quarter loss for the period ending May 30, 1999, of $US783.5 million. The loss mostly stemmed from charges the vendor took when it decided in May to bow out from the PC-socket-compatible microprocessor market.

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