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ADI sharpens RF edge with Hittite

Posted: 19 Jun 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:RF? microwave? millimetre? Analog? Hittite?

Analog Devices Inc. (ADI) is bolstering its RF market standing with a $2 billion deal to buy Hittite Microwave Corp., an chipmaker that has 36 product lines supporting digital, RF, microwave and millimetre wave applications across a frequency range of DC to 110Ghz.

By adding microwave and millimeter wave technology expertise to its RF and signal processing arsenal, ADI will deepen its penetration in the industrial, communications infrastructure, and automotive markets, which account for 89 per cent of its revenue, as well as strengthen its financial position.

"ADI will be able to serve our customers with technology capable of converting the entire frequency spectrum, including RF, microwave and millimeter wave," said Vincent Roche, president and chief executive, in a conference call with analysts following the deal's announcement [June 9]. "We believe this capability meaningfully differentiates ADI."

Hittite products

Hittite's product portfolio currently includes more than 1100 standard products and several custom products, spanning across eight end markets and numerous applications. Source: Hittite

However, it also allows ADI to "return to its roots" since it started out as military and aerospace supplier, according to Stephan Ohr, research director in Gartner's technology and service provider unit, San Francisco. "Who else could afford precision data converters back in the 1960s?" Ohr asked, adding that ADI was part of coterie of module suppliers known as "The 128 circle."

"With the acquisition of Hittite, Analog Devices repositions itself on the high-end of radio parts suppliers. Their transmitter/receiver components will support radar and satellite communications, and their customers will include aerospace companies," Ohr said.

Hittite Microwave, based in Massachusetts, is heavily focused on serving the military, microwave, and millimeter-wave communications and cellular infrastructure applications. In its first quarter of 2014, the company reported revenue of $70.6 million of which 78 per cent was derived from those markets. Gross-profit margin was 67.4 per cent. Hittite has 36 product lines, which include power amplifiers, variable gain amplifiers, sensors, switches, and attenuators, as well as frequency dividers and multipliers.

"Hittite's analogue front ends will complement ADI's high-sample-rate converters, a line of 100MHz and 150MHz analogue-to-digital converters with 14bit and 16bit resolution, to support cellular basestation receivers," Ohr said. "Unlike the traditional analogue down-converters, which use an intermediate beat frequency to subtract the carrier from the RF composite, the digital receivers (with the A/D converters) capture an RF swath and use a DSP to digital segregate channels and talkers."

ADI's signal processing solutions also includes operational amplifiers and linear products, as well as DSPs, processors, and MEMS devices. When the deal is completed, ADI's amplifier/RF product revenue base will approach nearly $1 billion.

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