Equity Method and Cost Method Investments
|12 Months Ended|
Dec. 31, 2011
|Equity Method and Cost Method Investments [Abstract]|
|Equity Method And Cost Method Investments [Text Block]||
Note 11: Equity Method and Cost Method Investments
Equity Method Investments
Equity method investments as of December 31, 2011 and December 25, 2010 were as follows:
Micron and Intel formed IM Flash Technologies, LLC (IMFT) and IM Flash Singapore, LLP (IMFS) to manufacture NAND flash memory products for Micron and Intel. The carrying value of our investment in IMFT/IMFS was $1.3 billion as of December 31, 2011 ($1.5 billion as of December 25, 2010) and is classified within other long-term assets. In the third quarter of 2011, we made an additional investment of $131 million in IMFS. The IMFS fabrication facility began initial production in the second quarter of 2011. IMFT and IMFS are each governed by a Board of Managers, with Micron and Intel initially appointing an equal number of managers to each of the boards. The number of managers appointed by each party adjusts depending on the parties' ownership interests. As a result of our overall net reduction of our ownership interest in IMFS, Micron now appoints the majority of the managers on the IMFS board. Through our remaining managers on the IMFS board, we continue to have significant influence over the operations of IMFS, and therefore continue to account for our interests using the equity method of accounting. These ventures are expected to operate until 2016 but are subject to earlier termination under certain terms and conditions.
These joint ventures are variable interest entities. All costs of the joint ventures will be passed on to Micron and Intel through our purchase agreements. IMFT and IMFS are dependent upon Micron and Intel for any additional cash requirements. Our known maximum exposure to loss approximated the carrying value of our investment balance in IMFT/IMFS as of December 31, 2011. Except for the amount due to IMFT/IMFS for product purchases and services, we did not have any additional liabilities recognized on our consolidated balance sheets in connection with our interests in these joint ventures as of December 31, 2011. Future cash calls could increase our investment balance and the related exposure to loss. Potential future losses could be higher than the carrying amount of our investment, as Intel and Micron are liable for other future operating costs or obligations of IMFT/IMFS. Finally, as we are currently committed to purchasing 49% of IMFT's and 22% of IMFS's production output and production-related services, we may be required to purchase products at a cost in excess of realizable value. As of December 31, 2011, our contractual commitment to purchase product output and fund production-related services from IMFS adjusts to changes in our ownership percentage on an eight-month lag.
Our portion of IMFT/IMFS costs, primarily related to product purchases and production-related services, was approximately $985 million during 2011 (approximately $795 million during 2010 and approximately $755 million during 2009). The amount due to IMFT/IMFS for product purchases and services provided was approximately $125 million as of December 31, 2011 (approximately $105 million as of December 25, 2010). During 2011, $263 million was returned to Intel by IMFT/IMFS, which is reflected as a return of equity method investment within investing activities on the consolidated statements of cash flows ($199 million during 2010 and $449 million during 2009). In 2010, IMFT increased its capital expenditures compared to 2009. The cash used for those capital expenditures reduced the amount of cash provided by IMFT to us as a return of equity method investment in 2010. Costs that Intel and Micron have incurred for product development and process development related to IMFT/IMFS are generally split evenly between Intel and Micron and are generally classified in research and development.
Under the accounting standards for consolidating variable interest entities, the consolidating investor is the entity with the power to direct the activities of the venture that most significantly impact the venture's economic performance and with the obligation to absorb losses or the right to receive benefits from the venture that could potentially be significant to the venture. We have determined that we do not have both of these characteristics and, therefore, we account for our interests using the equity method of accounting.
Intel-GE Care Innovations, LLC
In the first quarter of 2011, Intel and General Electric Company (GE) formed an equally owned joint venture, Intel-GE Care Innovations, LLC (Care Innovations), in the healthcare industry that focuses on independent living and delivery of health-related services via telecommunications. The company was formed by combining assets of GE Healthcare's Home Health division and Intel's Digital Health Group. As a result of the formation of Care Innovations, we recognized a gain of $164 million in the first quarter of 2011 that is recorded in interest and other, net.
Care Innovations is dependent upon Intel and GE for any additional cash requirements and, therefore, is a variable interest entity. Our known maximum exposure to loss approximated the carrying value of our investment balance in Care Innovations as of December 31, 2011. In addition to the potential loss of our existing investment, our actual losses could be higher, as we are liable to contribute additional future funding up to $38 million if Care Innovations meets established milestones.
Intel and GE equally share the power to direct all of Care Innovations' activities that most significantly impact its economic performance. As a result, we account for our interests in Care Innovations under the equity method of accounting.
SMART Technologies, Inc.
We hold an equity interest in SMART and account for our interest using the equity method of accounting. In 2010, SMART completed an initial public offering of shares approved for listing on The NASDAQ Global Select Market*. We sold approximately 10 million of our 27.5 million shares in the secondary offering. We recognized a gain of $181 million on the initial public offering and subsequent sale of our shares in the secondary offering, which is included in gains (losses) on equity investments, net.
Clearwire Communications, LLC
In 2008, we invested in Clearwire Communications, LLC (Clearwire LLC), a wholly owned subsidiary of Clearwire Corporation. Our investment in Clearwire LLC is accounted for under the equity method of accounting, and our proportionate share of the income or loss is recognized on a one-quarter lag. We recognize our proportionate share of losses to the extent that our investment has a positive carrying value. During 2011, we recognized $145 million of equity method losses ($116 million in 2010). During 2009, we recorded $27 million of equity method losses, which was net of a gain of $37 million as a result of a dilution of our ownership interest from an additional investment. These equity method losses are included in gains (losses) on equity investments, net.
In 2008, we divested our NOR flash memory business in exchange for an ownership interest in Numonyx. Our investment was accounted for under the equity method of accounting, and our proportionate share of the income or loss was recognized on a one-quarter lag. During 2010, we recognized $42 million of equity method gains ($31 million of equity method losses in 2009) within gains (losses) on equity investments, net.
During the second quarter of 2010, we sold our ownership interest in Numonyx to Micron and recognized a gain on the sale of $91 million, which is included in gains (losses) on equity investments, net. In exchange for our investment in Numonyx, we received 57.9 million shares of Micron common stock, with an additional 8.6 million shares held in escrow for 12 months after the sale, and we issued a $72 million short-term note payable, which was subsequently paid.
In the fourth quarter of 2010, we sold 21.5 million shares of Micron common stock, which consisted of the 8.6 million shares held in escrow and an additional 12.9 million shares received in the sale of Numonyx. In 2011, we sold the remaining Micron shares.
Cost Method Investments
The carrying value of our non-marketable cost method investments was $1.1 billion as of December 31, 2011 and $872 million as of December 25, 2010. In 2011, we recognized impairment charges on non-marketable cost method investments of $56 million within gains (losses) on equity investments, net ($109 million in 2010 and $179 million in 2009).