Chronicle of 10 analog, power and RF acquisitions in 2021

Article By : Majeed Ahmad

Here's a rundown of the 10 acquisition deals in the analog, power and RF design industries.

Here’s a rundown of the 10 acquisition deals in the analog, power and RF design industries.

  1. Pentek

In May 2021, the supplier of radio and data acquisition boards and recording systems for high-end commercial and defense applications was acquired by Mercury Systems, a technology firm delivering open-architecture processing solutions to the aerospace and defense industry. The deal will expand Mercury’s reach to radar and electronic warfare markets.

  1. Newport Wafer Fab

In July 2021, Nexperia obtained 100% ownership of Newport Wafer Fab and renamed it Nexperia Newport. Earlier, in 2019, Nexperia had become the second-largest shareholder in the Welsh semiconductor production facility. The Newport site will now complement Nexperia’s manufacturing operations in Manchester and Hamburg.

The Newport production site, established in 1982 and originally named INMOS, has a capacity of over 35,000 200 mm wafer starts per month, covering semiconductor technologies ranging from MOSFETs to trench IGBTs. Nexperia aims to focus the fab operations on MOSFETs, IGBT, analog, and compound semiconductors.

  1. Silicon Labs’ analog assets

Also, in July 2021, Silicon Labs shed its Infrastructure & Automotive business to Skyworks Solutions for $2.75 billion. Now focusing on the Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity business, Silicon Labs sold its analog chip business comprising two broad categories: timing and isolation. The timing portfolio included buffers, clock generators, oscillators, and jitter attenuators. Next, the isolation lineup comprised isolated analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) and gate drivers as well as industrial I/O and digital isolators.

  1. Maxim Integrated Products

While widely covered in technology and trade media, Analog Devices Inc.’s Maxim Integrated deal made it a mega supplier surpassing $10 billion in sales in 2021, according to McClean Report produced by research firm IC insights. Industry observers call ADI’s acquisition of Maxim Integrated an indication of the red-hot analog chip market.

Maxim’s application-focused power management offerings complement ADI’s broad components portfolio in analog and mixed-signal domains. Besides analog design innovation, what kept Maxim going since its inception in April 1983 was its savvy manufacturing strategy.

  1. Dialog Semiconductor

Another acquisition deal completed in August 2021 was the purchase of Dialog Semiconductor by Renesas. Another analog and power chipmaker folded into the larger world of a digital semiconductor outfit aiming to bolster its mixed-signal engineering prowess. The value proposition of buying the Anglo-German chipmaker and Apple supplier seemed two-fold.

First, when you look at the IoT designs, the secret sauce comprises mainly low-cost MCUs and low-power connectivity solutions. Here, Renesas MCUs could mesh with Dialog’s power-savvy Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity offerings. Second, Dialog’s expertise in power management ICs (PMICs) could be instrumental in creating low-power system-on-chip (SoC) solutions for automotive applications such as battery management, infotainment, and ADAS.

  1. Integrated Microwave Corp. (IMC)

Also, in August 2021, Knowles Precision Devices, a division of Knowles Corp., acquired California-based Integrated Microwave Corp. (IMC) to expand its RF portfolio in the aerospace and defense markets. IMC’s RF and microwave filtering solutions support VHF to Ka-band by adding ceramic, lumped-element, (LC) and cavity filters for lower-frequency and higher-power applications.

  1. Eta Wireless

In September 2021, Murata Manufacturing completed the acquisition of Eta Wireless, a developer of digital envelope tracking technology that dramatically reduces the power consumption of RF circuits in wireless communications. The technology combines signal processing techniques with digital power management methods to efficiently control RF circuits.

That’s going to be critical in 5G and 6G wireless networks that have limited leverage to improve the power consumption of broadband signals via hardware manufacturing and analog methods. Here, the digital envelope tracking technology optimizes the voltage within the RF circuit to curb excessive power consumption.

  1. ADI’s radar division

In October 2021, indie Semiconductor, specializing in automotive solutions, announced it was buying Symeo GmbH, the Munich-based radar division of Analog Devices Inc. The business comprising 35 team members developed hardware and software for RF and sensor technologies while enabling real-time position detection and distance measurement for high-precision radar solutions.

The acquisition shows how indie is augmenting vision processing, perception, and LiDAR design expertise for automotive radar systems. Automotive radars support functions like navigation, surveillance, and traffic monitoring while providing insights into a vehicle’s surroundings and identifying potential hazards for drivers.

  1. GT Advanced Technologies (GTAT)

Soon after its name rebranding, in November 2021, onsemi completed the acquisition of GT Advanced Technologies, a developer of wafer-ready silicon carbide (SiC) solutions. GTAT’s manufacturing facilities and expertise in 150 mm and 200 mm SiC crystal growth will help onsemi offer SiC-based end-to-end power solutions.

  1. UnitedSiC

Next, in November 2021, RF chipmaker Qorvo announced the acquisition of United Silicon Carbide (UnitedSiC), a supplier of SiC power semiconductors for electric vehicles (EVs), industrial power, circuit protection, renewables, and data center power. Qorvo aims to integrate the new company into its Infrastructure & Defense Products (IDP) business and offer semiconductor solutions covering power conversion, motion control, and circuit protection applications.

This article was originally published on Planet Analog.

Majeed Ahmad, Editor-in-Chief of EDN, has covered the electronics design industry for more than two decades.


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