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Spansion Headed For Wall Street, Main Street

AMD and Fujitsu are taking their joint Flash memory company to Wall Street en route to a public offering.

The two companies filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission Wednesday to start the process of launching an initial public offering (IPO) of Spansion.

Spansion develops, designs and makes NOR Flash memory products and is the world's No. 2 producer behind Samsung. Spansion's customer portfolio includes Cisco Systems, Nortel Networks and Volkswagen.

The benefit of using Flash memory is that it stores data without needing a continuous power supply. The memory chips are found in products used in the wireless, automotive, networking, telecommunications and consumer electronics markets.

Formerly known as FASL, Spansion was originally a $3 billion partnership established in 1993 between AMD and Fujitsu. Ten years later, FASL became a full company with investors and a global workforce of approximately 7,000 employees.

Bertrand Cambou leads Spansion as president and CEO. The board of directors consists of 10 members, six of which were appointed by AMD and four by Fujitsu, including Toshihiko Ono, chairman of the board. The company's headquarters are in Sunnyvale, Calif., and Tokyo.

The companies did not say how many shares would be offered or what the estimated price range for the class A common stock would be. AMD owns 60 percent interest in Spansion, while Fujitsu owns 40 percent.

In fiscal year 2004, Spansion said its total net sales were approximately $2.3 billion. The company's sales hit $1.8 billion in 2003, according to SEC filings.

AMD and Fujitsu may be trying to time the market with its IPO. The market for Flash products was growth positive in 2004, but according to estimates by the Semiconductor Industry Association, it should only grow 2 percent to $15.4 billion in 2005.

The trade organization expects the market to rebound in 2006, with an increase of 9 percent to $16.8 billion in sales.