By Stephen Nellis and Samrhitha A
(Reuters) -Chipmaker Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) said on Tuesday it plans to operate its programmable chip unit as a standalone business starting January next year, with plans to hold a public offering for stock in the business over the next two to three years.
Intel shares were up more than 2% after the bell.
Intel acquired the business when it bought Altera for $16.7 billion in 2015. Programmable chips sit between Intel’s general purpose chips and chips that are designed for a single task and used in everything from encrypting data to 5G wireless telecommunications equipment.
Intel said Sandra Rivera, an Intel veteran, will oversee the new unit, which will continue to use Intel’s factory to make its chips. Intel said it has started “an extensive internal and external search” to replace Rivera, who currently oversees the company’s data center and artificial intelligence chip business that competes with Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA) and Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ: AMD).
The deal follows Intel’s earlier moves to sell its memory chip unit to SK Hynix and take public part of its Mobileye self-driving car chip unit. Both efforts were aimed at streamlining Intel’s business and drumming up capital for Chief Executive Pat Gelsinger’s strategy to turn the company around by reviving its manufacturing arm, which had fallen behind rivals such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.
Intel’s programmable chips are also useful for some applications in artificial intelligence, which has helped the unit grow as the tech industry grapples with a shortage of chips that can power chatbots and other new technologies.
“It’s a good time to unlock value for Intel shareholders and focus on the core business. This division has had record revenue for three consecutive quarters and is in a growing industry,” said Thomas Hayes, chair at Great Hill Capital.