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Top 15 deals that influenced analogue, sensors in 2015

Posted: 04 Jan 2016 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:mergers and acquisitions? MEMS? sensor? semiconductor?

Mergers and acquisitions as well as business dealing trend were more prominent in 2015 than they were in 2013 and 2014. As a result, what was going to be a top-10 list expanded to a top 15.

1) Tronics launches IPO

The year started quietly enough with MEMS company Tronics raising ?12 million (about $13 million) by listing on the Euronext market (see Tronics launches IPO).

2) Omnivision turns Chinese

The year 2015 was characterised by a lot of noise about China buying its way into the semiconductor industry. There was more noise than activity but one of the deals that looks set to go through is the acquisition of CMOS image sensor maker Omnivision Technologies Inc. (Santa Clara Calif.). OmniVision shareholders, who approved the deal in July, will receive about $1.9 billion. The transaction, which is expected to close before the end of April 2016, is still subject to regulatory approvals, including a U.S. foreign ownership review (see OmniVision shareholders approve Seagull takeover).

3) Knowles buys Audience

In May it was announced that MEMS microphone supplier Knowles Corp. (Itasca, Illinois) would acquire Audience Inc. (Mountain View, Calif.) for $85 million net of a cash balance of $44 million (see Knowles buys Audience for $85 million). Audience was a provider of audio and noise suppression processors for Android equipment and in 2014 acquired software company Sensor Platforms for $41 million to help it expand into sound-plus-motion context awareness.

4) Microchip acquires Micrel

At the beginning of August, Microchip Technology Inc. (Chandler, Ariz.) completed its acquisition of Micrel Semiconductor Inc. (San Jose, Calif.) for about $840 million. While Microchip is best known as a microcontroller and specialist memory company Micrel brought a portfolio of linear and power management products, LAN solutions and timing and communications products to the deal (see Microchip to acquire Micrel).

It also saw the stepping down of Ray Zinn, who is the longest-serving CEO in Silicon Valley, having taken up the post when he co-founded Micrel in 1978.

5) AMS to rent wafer fab in New York

In 2015 AMS AG (Unterpremstaetten, Austria) was innovative not only in the chips it designed but also in its business dealings. In August, the mixed-signal and sensor IC specialist agreed a deal whereby it will rent a fully operational wafer fab built for it in by the State of New York for a period of 20 years (see AMS plans to rent a wafer fab in New York).


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