AMD Hires J.P. Morgan to "Explore Options," Including an Outright Sale

Paul Lilly

Shares of chip designer Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) surged by more than 18 percent following a report that it's hired J.P. Morgan Chase to "explore options," including an outright sale of the company. Before anyone panics, no sale is imminent, and it appears AMD would much rather offload some of its patents to generate some much needed cash, but at the same time, all options are on the table.

"AMD's board and management believe that the strategy the company is currently pursuing to drive long-term growth by leveraging AMD's highly differentiated technology assets is the right approach to enhance shareholder value," an AMD spokesman told Reuters .

Caught off guard by weaker than expected demand, AMD recently warned investors that its third-quarter revenue would probably dip 10 percent from the previous quarter, news of which sent the company's stock spiraling towards a three-year low, just under $3 a share. Today it's trading at $2.09 a share, up 5 percent from the beginning of the day.

A problem AMD faces is that the PC industry is in a slump as consumers trend towards mobile devices. Intel is in the same boat, only it's a much bigger ship that's better equipped to handle the storm than AMD.

One thing that could work in AMD's favor is its willingness to try anything. For example, after years of designing chips exclusively around x86 architecture, the Sunnyvale chip designer recently waved around an ARM license that it intends to build 64-bit ARM-based processors for the server market.

The primary challenge for AMD, however, is that it's in a serous cash crunch. AMD previously announced plans to slash 15 percent of its workforce in a restructuring effort, and followed that up by closing the door on an open source development lab in Germany.

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