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Foundry deal sees Mimix go absolutely fabless

Chip manufacturer Mimix Broadband sells its GaAs fab to Universal Semiconductor Technology.

GaAs semiconductor maker Mimix Broadband has become a fabless operation after agreeing to sell its Santa Clara, CA, wafer facility to local high-technology investment company and semiconductor services provider Universal Semiconductor Technology (USTI).

Mimix and USTI have also signed a multi-year GaAs wafer supply and non-competition agreement, under which Mimix will gain non-exclusive foundry services including GaAs MESFET, PHEMT and HBT processes.

Mimix acquired the fab, in which around 25 people work, as recently as June last year when it bought the remaining assets belonging to now-defunct Celeritek (see related story).

Military applications account for around one-third of the GaAs products made at the fab, while Mimix also uses the chips in a variety of satellite communications and wireless infrastructure products.

"This agreement is ideal, as it allows Mimix to be 100 per cent fabless," said Mimix CEO Rick Montgomery. "No foundry disruption will occur in manufacturing our semiconductor products."

Mimix confirmed to Compoundsemiconductor.net that the transfer to San Jose-based USTI had already begun and that there was no set date for its completion.

USTI already manufactures mixed-signal CMOS arrays and offers foundry services including etching, photolithography and doping. Its chairman Bao Hua Zheng said: "USTI will have the opportunity to manufacture GaAs semiconductors using proven and industry-leading processes."

Zheng added that the foundry will serve as a platform for development of new processes for customers targeting the compound semiconductor sector. USTI will be free to offer those foundry services to other customers.

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