After weeks of speculation and negotiation, chip giant Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC – $33.98) agreed to acquire smaller semiconductor company Altera Corporation for about $16.7 billion in cash. This union would couple Intel’s diverse array of products and production capabilities with Altera’s latest field-programmable gate array technology. The combination is expected to enable new classes of devices that meet customer needs in the data center and Internet-of-Things segments and diversify Intel’s largely server and PC offerings. Under the deal, Altera will become an Intel business unit to facilitate continuity of existing and new customer sales and support. Intel also plans to continue support and development for Altera’s ARM-based and power-management product lines. Although the transaction remains subject to the customary regulatory approvals, it is anticipated the acquisition will close sometime over the next six to nine months. Once completed, the combined companies expect the deal to boost Intel’s earnings per share and free cash flow in the first year after close. Intel intends to fund the acquisition with a combination of cash-on-hand and debt. Not without risk, shares of high-quality INTC should reward patient income-minded investors with above-average total returns out to 2018- 2020. The solid dividend yields 2.8% at current levels.