Big Blue's efforts will focus on pushing the limits of Moore's Law - whereas transistor widths are currently down to 14nm, IBM will explore ways to bring them to 7nm or less in time - and on commercializing unconventional materials and technologies.
The materials/technologies in question include carbon nanotubes, silicon photonics, graphene, and quantum computing. Intel, H-P, and Nokia are among the companies exploring one or more of those fields.
Even if its chip manufacturing unit gets sold, IBM is likely to continue designing chips for its own hardware (for example, its Power server CPUs). The company has also built up a lucrative IP licensing business that partly relies on chip-related IP.