Intel Corporation INTC came under activist pressure this week, and against this backdrop, a Morgan Stanley analyst looked at what's in store for the chipmaker in the New Year.
The Intel Analyst: Joseph Moore has an Equal-weight rating on Intel shares and a $60 price target.
The Intel Thesis: Intel's management and board have shown open mindedness in receiving feedback in the wake of Daniel Loeb-led Third Point's demand for changes, Moore said in a Wednesday note.
While core shareholders may prefer Intel staying the course, others may clamor for an alternative path, and this could provide valuable feedback, the analyst said.
Regarding how much 7nm fab capacity can be outsourced to Taiwan Semiconductor Mfg. Co. Ltd. TSM, Morgan Stanley said the optimal path depends upon Intel's confidence in its roadmap.
"If the company sees little hope of recovering manufacturing leadership, the use of foundry would be a clear positive," Moore said.
Internal value creation could be either offering a best-in-class process when it comes to microprocessors or an aggressive migration to fab lite, the analyst said.
On Third Point's reference to defection of key technologists and the lack of visible technology decision makers, Moore said customer confidence in the roadmap is even more important than investor confidence.
Intel needs someone in the executive suite who can speak to those issues, in addition to strong financial management, the analyst said.
"While we do see paths to value creation relative to the current path, the challenges in 2021 still look substantial."
The upside case of Intel delivering on the process of enhanced 10 nm SuperFin and Alder Lake and Sapphire Rapids, and then transitioning that to a successful 7 nm product thereafter, will be hard to prove in the next 12 months, in Morgan Stanley's view.
The negatives such as lower earnings and accelerated share loss are much more tangible, in the firm's view.
INTC Price Action: At last check, Intel shares were slipping 1.16% to $48.82.
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