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Perennial processor underdog Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD ) rose as much as 5% on Monday, driven by buyout rumors.
Wedbush Securities analyst Patrick Wang notes that "there is no management team there," and he's absolutely right. CEO Dirk Meyer was forced out in January, followed by COO Bob Rivet and strategy chief Marty Seyer last week. That's a heck of a trio to lose all at once, and these departures have left gaping leadership holes. If AMD ever looked like a buyout target, this would be it.
CFO Tom Seifert is the acting CEO for now. He doesn't want the job to be permanent, and I was moved to question his suitability for even the CFO position back in 2009. Seifert's resume includes running the financial ship at Qimonda as the memory maker went bankrupt. As far as I know, he has no CEO experience. I can't fault Seifert's level of technical know-how, but AMD is a sitting duck under his leadership, especially with the departure of so many top lieutenants.
Barron's reports that Dell (Nasdaq: DELL ) might be interested in AMD, which makes some sense. If Dell wanted to differentiate itself from Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) , Lenovo, and other system-building rivals, hugging AMD tight and kicking Intel (Nasdaq: INTC ) to the curb would certainly get that job done. But AMD has a $6.5 billion enterprise value before you start looking at buyout premiums, and a bet-the-business deal that large would leave Dell's balance sheet sorely depleted. This one's a serious long shot.
The same is true for IBM (NYSE: IBM ) , but that combination would make more sense than a Dell deal for two reasons:
- A stock-swap deal structure would inflict much less dilution on IBM shareholders because its float and market cap are an order of magnitude larger. IBM's large size would make it easier for former AMD investors to sell out of the combined entity if they so desired. Also, given IBM's aggressive road map to push earnings per share to $20 by 2015, it looks like the potential suitor with a strong future.
- AMD and IBM have a long history of working together on chip designs and general processor technology.
Besides, the two acronyms look great together.
AMD says it's really looking for a new CEO (and presumably a whole management team), which wouldn't be necessary with a firm offer on the table. The company could be for sale, and the top contenders for such a deal would be IBM and Dell, but it's nothing but rumor mongering at this point.
Add AMD to your Foolish watchlist to keep up with the buyout offers -- or lack thereof.