Activist hedge fund Third Point LLC is urging Intel Corp. to explore strategic alternatives, according to a letter it sent to the company’s chairman on Tuesday.
The alternatives include decisions such as whether Intel should keep chip design and production arms under one entity. It could also lead to the unwinding of some of its acquisitions, such as the $16.7 billion purchase of Altera in 2015 (as reported by Reuters).
Third Point has nearly $1 billion stake in Intel, according to people familiar with the matter(as reported by Reuters).
Reuters reported that Third Point Chief Executive Daniel Loeb wrote to Intel Chairman Omar Ishrak pushing for immediate action to bolster the company’s position as a major provider of processor chips for PCs and data centers. According to Loeb’s letter, Intel has lost its pole position in microprocessor manufacturing to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co and South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co Ltd.
The letter also mentioned addressing Intel’s “human capital management issue,” as an urgent action, as many of its highly skilled chip designers have left “demoralized by the status quo”.
Furthermore, the letter suggested that Intel is losing its market share in PC and data center segments to Advanced Micro Devices Inc.
In artificial intelligence applications, NVIDIA Corp is dominating computational models, while Intel has almost no presence in this relatively new market, according to the letter.
Loeb is concerned that without immediate action from Intel, the U.S. might have to depend more heavily on “a geopolitically unstable East Asia to power everything from PCs to data centers to critical infrastructure and more”, as mentioned in the letter. Loed wrote that Intel customers, such as Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp and Amazon.com Inc, are developing their own in-house silicon solutions and sending those designs to be manufactured in East Asia; Loeb advised that Intel must have new solutions for retaining customers versus having them send their manufacturing away.
Intel responded, “Intel welcomes input from all investors regarding enhanced shareholder value. In that spirit, we look forward to engaging with Third Point LLC on their ideas towards that goal.”