Intel Corp. and Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s two-largest chip companies, may compete to acquire Infineon Technologies AG’s mobile-phone business, according to Citigroup.
An acquisition or partnership with Samsung would be a better fit for the German chipmaker’s business and thus more likely, Glen Yeung, a San Francisco-based Citigroup analyst, said today in a research report.
Samsung, also the world’s second-largest maker of mobile phones, would use Infineon’s technology to help broaden its chip business beyond memory, Yeung wrote. Intel chips run more than 80 percent of the world’s personal computers, making the company the biggest semiconductor maker. It is trying to parlay its dominance of PCs into a slice of the handset market.
Intel doesn’t comment on rumor or speculation, said Chuck Mulloy, a spokesman for Santa Clara, California-based Intel. Christian Hoenicke, a spokesman for Neubiberg, Germany-based Infineon, declined to comment. Chris Goodhart, a U.S.-based spokeswoman for Samsung, which is based in Suwon, South Korea, didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment.
Earlier today, Infineon Chief Executive Officer Peter Bauer said he continues to be happy with the wireless solutions business. The chipmaker hired JPMorgan Chase & Co. and opened a data room for potential buyers to review its books, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not be identified by name because it hasn’t been made public yet.
Infineon’s wireless-solutions business makes baseband processors, the chips that control the radio functions in phones. It will have sales of 1.26 billion euros ($1.63 billion) this year, a gain of 29 percent, according to a Citigroup estimate.
Its two largest customers are Apple Inc. and LG Electronics Inc., each supplying about 30 percent of sales. An Infineon baseband chip powers Apple’s iPhone. The unit also supplies Nokia Oyj, Samsung and Research In Motion Ltd., according to Yeung’s report.
Intel fell 5 cents to $21.53 at 12.18 p.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. Infineon rose 13 cents to 5.18 euros in Frankfurt.
About 315 million mobile phones shipped in the first quarter, according to Gartner Inc. That’s almost quadruple the 84 million PCs shipped in the period.
Intel and Samsung may both be looking to acquire Infineon, an interesting development in both stocks and semiconductor manufacturing.