Intel, Altera resume merger talks

Major shareholders reportedly pushed the talks to happen.

Weeks after the merger talks collapsed, Intel and Altera are talking merger again after Altera got a kick in the rear from some major shareholders.

The New York Post, citing a source with "direct knowledge of the talks," says that a deal could be reached within "few weeks." Reuters, doing its own work, said Intel had initially offered $58 per share but brought that amount down to $54 per share once it had a closer look at "non-public information, including [Altera's] outlook."

That's a pretty big premium over Altera's $46 share price as of Wednesday and $34 share price prior to the merger rumors. Altera rejected Intel's prior offer of $54 per share offer.

Back when the deal was called off, I speculated shareholders would be upset, and according to Bloomberg, that's exactly what happened. Bloomberg says that TIG Capital and Cadian Capital Management, which own 1.5% and 2.8% of outstanding shares, respectively, sent letters to Altera's management urging them to reconsider.

TIG actually started a public campaign to push for the merger, something you rarely see. TIG urged shareholders to vote against Altera's lead independent director T. Michael Nevens as a protest against the company's decision to walk away. Altera had its shareholder's meeting on May 11.

TIG's interests are obvious. It will profit handsomely from a buyout. But now that Intel has a FPGA partner in eASIC, does it need Altera any more, and if the deal does go through, where does this leave eASIC? Intel doesn't need an FPGA partner and in-house division.

More to the point, I'd love to know why Intel has such a sudden infatuation with FPGA. My only guess is it sees x86 really hitting a performance wall and FPGA as the only solution for certain functions, such as Big Data and analytics. But they sure seem anxious about it.

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