Ten deals that shaped the analog, MEMS and sensors world in 2018

December 17, 2018 //By Peter Clarke
Ten deals that shaped the analog, MEMS and sensors world in 2018
Consolidation in the electronics and semiconductor sectors continued in 2018 and here is a top ten list of deals, in roughly chronological order, that impacted the analog, MEMS and sensors sector in 2018.

1) Qualcomm, NXP Semiconductor deal cancelled

This story rumbled through the whole of 2017 and on into 2018 where it started to get wrapped up in the US-China trade war with authorities withholding permissions. But eventually the deal lapsed and the two went their separate ways (see Qualcomm terminates NXP acquisition, buys back stock instead).

2) Cree buys Infineon RF power

In March Cree Inc. (Durham, North Carolina) said it had acquired the RF power assets of Infineon Technologies for approximately €345 million (about $390 million) expanding opportunities in wireless for Cree's Wolfspeed business unit and enhancing its leadership in RF GaN-on-SiC technologies (see Cree buys Infineon RF power business assets).

3) Microchip buys Microsemi

Also in March microcontroller and mixed-signal company Microchip Technology Inc. (Chandler, Ariz.) agreed to purchase mixed-signal, power, RF and FPGA vendor Microsemi Corp. (Aliso Viejo, Calif.) for $8.35 billion.

Microchip is well known as the vendor of PIC microcontroller range while Microsemi dates back to 1959 when it was founded as Microsemiconductor. Microsemi had grown repeatedly by acquisition and merger and over time manouvered into FPGA and timing circuit sales. In 1991 it acquired a facility in Ennis, in county Clare Ireland with a competency in the development, manufacturing and high reliability testing of semiconductors to meet stringent aerospace, satellite, medical and security standards (see One Micro to buy another for $8.35 billion).

4) InvenSense buys Chirp

Chirp Microsystems Inc. (Berkeley, Calif.) was an interesting startup that used a MEMS based ultrasonic transceiver to detect gestures up to a range of 1 to 5 meters. The technology is also reckoned to be smaller and lower power than optical time-of-flight sensors, and they work in direct sunlight (see Chirp launches ultrasonic ToF sensors).

InvenSense, which has itself been acquired in 2017 by TDK of Japan (see TDK agrees to pay $1.3 billion for InvenSense), bought Chirp for an undisclosed amount (see Startup Chirp Microsystems to become part of TDK's InvenSense).

5) Nexperia goes Chinese

In April 2018 Nexperia BV (Nijmegen, The Netherlands), a manufacturer of discrete semiconductors, logic and MOSFET devices secured $800 million in credit facilities to help it fund future growth.

Nexperia had been formed in February 2017 by the purchase of the standard products business unit of NXP Semiconductors NV (Eindhoven, The Netherlands) by a consortium led by China's Beijing Jianguang Asset Management Co. Ltd. and Wise Road Capital Ltd.

And then in October 2018 Wingtech Technology Co. Ltd. (Shanghai, China) bought out the consortium for 25.2 billion yuan, about $3.63 billion, see Chinese firm to buy Nexperia for $3.6 billion).

Next: From ARM in China to Apple

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