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TDK teams up with Qualcomm to form $3B RF joint venture

Posted: 26 Jan 2016 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:joint venture? radio frequency? IoT? robotics? RF360?

Japan-based TDK Corp. and U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm Inc. formed a joint venture, RF360 Holdings Singapore Pte. Ltd, to develop radio frequency modules and filters. The RF components will take on various applications including Internet of Things (IoT), drones, robotics and automotive electronics.

TDK ships more than 25 million filters per day and RF360 Holdings will acquire part of the total TDK surface acoustic wave (SAW) business group with a run rate of about $1 billion annual sales and approximately 4,200 employees. RF360 Holdings will acquire the filter and module design and manufacturing assets, plus related patents, owned by TDK and its subsidiaries, with certain assets being acquired directly by Qualcomm affiliates. Qualcomm will provide general expertise in wireless technologies.

In addition to creating RF360 Holdings, Qualcomm and TDK will increase collaboration in sensors and wireless charging.

The joint venture will initially be owned 51 per cent by Qualcomm Global Trading PTE. Ltd (QGT) and 49 per cent by Epcos AG, a wholly owned subsidiary of TDK (Epcos). QGT has an option to acquire the remaining interest in the joint venture 30 months after the closing of the deal, expected early in 2017.

The deal has a transaction value of about $3 billion and TDK will receive payments of up to $200 million in lieu of profit sharing from the deal over the first three years following the closing of the deal.

As a result, RF360 Holdings will offer comprehensive set of surface acoustic wave (SAW), temperature-compensated surface acoustic wave (TC-SAW) and bulk acoustic wave (BAW) filters to support the wide range of frequency bands being deployed in networks across the globe. In addition, RF360 Holdings will offer RF front-end modules that include components designed and developed by Qualcomm including CMOS, SOI and GaAS power amplifiers, RF switching, antenna tuning, and power envelope tracking chips.

The agreement is subject to receipt of regulatory approvals and other closing conditions and is expected to close by early 2017.

"The joint venture's RF filters will bolster Qualcomm RF360 front-end solutions to enable Qualcomm Technologies Inc. (QTI) to deliver a truly complete solution to the ecosystem," said Steve Mollenkopf, CEO of Qualcomm Inc., in a statement.

- Peter Clarke
??EE Times Europe

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