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Chip Startup Ampere, Founded By Ex-Intel Exec, Files IPO

In a bid for new investment fund sources, the already well-financed chipmaker, which has backing from Oracle, may build enough momentum to grab more data center market share from Intel and AMD.

Chip startup Ampere – founded by the former president of Intel Corp. – on Monday said it had confidentially filed for an initial public offering (IPO).

Former Intel President Renée James (pictured above) founded Santa Clara, Calif.-based Ampere and serves as the company’s chief executive officer. Chip demand has surged with the COVID-19 pandemic, pushing workers to their home offices over the last two years while wreaking havoc on the supply chain and slowing deliveries for many semiconductors to a crawl.

Ampere filed an IPO on a confidential basis, meaning the regulatory process can start with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission without publicly disclosing finances and other business details. CRN has reached out to Ampere for further information.

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The company already has huge backing from Oracle, which said in its latest quarterly earnings that it had taken a 20 percent to 50 percent stake. According to SEC filings, Oracle has invested $426 million in Ampere since 2017.

Bloomberg reported last fall that Ampere was in talks with SoftBank Group for an investment that would have valued the chipmaker at $8 billion. SoftBank owns Arm, which provides designs for Ampere’s server chips. Ampere accounts for less than 1 percent of the server market dominated by Intel and AMD.

James left Intel in 2015 and founded Ampere in 2018.

Kent Tibbils, vice president of marketing at Freemont Calif.-based hardware distributor ASI Corp., said the data center market may see more players in the coming years, but don’t expect any one solution to take over – Intel and AMD can probably rest easy. “In the data center business, you’re going to continue to see different chip designs for different tasks and a lot of emphasis about keeping power consumption down,” he said. “I think we’ll definitely hear a lot more about these kinds of Arm processors in the future. Things are growing so rapidly.”

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