What just happened? In what appears to be a mysterious and unusual deal, Intel has agreed to pay VIA Technologies $125 million to poach some employees from one of its subsidiaries. The subsidiary itself isn’t being sold, however, and further details are scarce at this time.
Taiwan company VIA Technologies sent out a press release this week briefly discussing the deal with Intel. All it says is that Intel will be able to “recruit” some employees of VIA’s x86 subsidiary, Centaur Technology, while paying VIA $125 million. Intel won’t actually buy Centaur wholesale and VIA will keep Centaur’s business.
Centaur’s website has been mostly wiped clean and currently just consists of a message telling visitors it’s under construction.
Intel confirmed the deal to AnandTech but gave no further details following VIA’s announcement, and Centaur still hasn’t commented. According to AnandTech, Taiwan news site United Daily News further confirmed that Intel isn’t getting the actual Centaur company, so other than some expertise, it’s a bit unclear what exactly Intel is paying for.
VIA may be keeping ownership of Centaur along with its designs and patents, but the apparent reboot of Centaur’s website signals some kind of significant change. No date on when the deal will close has been given.
VIA’s press release mentions there are certain conditions in its contract with Intel, but doesn’t go into what those conditions are. It only says Intel will pay the full $125 million when the deal closes.
Centaur has been with VIA since 1999. In 2019, Centaur revealed a class of server processors that WikiChip Fuse considered to be competitive with Intel’s Skylake processors and AMD’s first generation Zen CPUs.