Thu, Apr. 30, 1:45 PM
- Both acoustic component maker Knowles (KN -6.5%) and voice processor developer Audience (ADNC -13.1%) have sold off following news Knowles is acquiring Audience for $85M net of cash, or $5/share.
- Knowles is paying $2.50/share in cash and issuing between .107-.138 shares for each Audience share, depending on its average trading price "during a specified period" prior to the deal's closing, which is expected in Q3. The purchase will be financed using existing cash and credit lines.
- The buyout price is 9% below Audience's Wednesday close of $5.49. The reason: Audience (just posted Q1 results) says it has seen "material declines in forecast demand over the last thirty days from our largest customer relative to management expectations for 2Q15." The customer is widely believed to be Samsung.
- Knowles argues the deal will allow it to "deliver end-to-end solutions for acoustics from microphones to signal processing to speakers," and thereby increase its dollar content for mobile design wins. The company also highlights Audience's patent portfolio, and forecasts the deal will yield $25M/year in cost synergies. It's expected to be accretive by Q4 2016.
Mon, Mar. 2, 1:41 PM
- The Philadelphia Semi Index (SOXX +2.4%) has rallied to new highs after NXP announced it's buying microcontroller, network processor, and RF amplifier supplier Freescale for $16.7B after factoring net cash/debt, the biggest deal yet in the chip industry's ongoing consolidation wave. The Nasdaq is up 0.5%.
- Microcontroller makers are among today's big gainers - NXP/Freescale assert they'll be the world's biggest supplier of general-purpose microcontrollers. Standouts include Atmel (ATML +6%) and STMicroelectronics (STM +3.4%), as well as Cypress (CY +3.1%) and merger partner Spansion (CODE +3.2%).
- Other notable gainers include InvenSense (INVN +3.4%), Ambarella (AMBA +6.3%), Audience (ADNC +5.5%), Cirrus Logic (CRUS +3.7%), Cavium (CAVM +4.2%), ON Semi (ONNN +3.5%), Silicon Motion (SIMO +3.5%), InPhi (IPHI +3.8%), and TowerJazz (TSEM +5.5%).
- With the Mobile World Congress as a backdrop, InvenSense has unveiled a 6-axis SoC that pairs a gyroscope and acceleromoter with a motion processor and related software/algorithms; the company claims 25%-50% better power consumption than rival solutions. It has also launched a software library meant to "provide sensor-assisted positioning in places where GNSS alone cannot provide desired accuracy."
- Cavium has announced its OCTEON Fusion-M processor line for mobile base stations. The chips support up to 16 custom CPU cores running at 2GHz., and are declared by Cavium to enable "Smart Radio Heads" that can adapt to network conditions. They begin sampling in Q3.
- Chip ETFs: SMH, XSD, PSI, SOXL, USD, SOXS, SSG
- Previously: Chip product launches: ARMH, EZCH, BRCM, NXPI, XLNX, IDTI
Jul. 7, 2014, 5:52 PM
- InvenSense (INVN) is buying Movea, a French provider of algorithms and software for processing/analyzing motion and audio sensor data, and Trusted Positioning (TPI), a developer of software that improves location tracking by combining data from motion sensors and GPS/Wi-Fi networks. The company is paying a total of $81M ($75M in cash).
- InvenSense declares pairing its motion sensors with Movea and TPI's technology will allow it to offer "intelligent" sensor SoCs supporting always-on location and activity tracking for mobile apps/services.
- Movea has an IP portfolio featuring 100+ patent families, and calls itself "amongst the leading patent holders for motion sensor based functions." It offers motion-processing/data fusion libraries aimed at mobile devices, sports wearables, and living room gear. TPI, meanwhile, argues its software allows for positioning to work in areas where wireless signals are blocked.
- Two weeks ago, voice processor vendor Audience (ADNC) announced it's buying Movea rival Sensor Platforms. The deals have implications for QuickLogic (QUIK), whose sensor hubs have relied on Sensor Platforms' algorithms and have some feature overlap with InvenSense's motion sensors.
- SA authors have gone back and forth regarding the competitive threat posed by InvenSense to QuickLogic, with bulls having argued InvenSense is only a threat on the low-end. The Movea/TPI deals arguably strengthen InvenSense's challenge.
- Last fall, InvenSense bought Analog Devices' microphone unit for $100M+.
Jun. 25, 2014, 11:48 AM
- Audience (ADNC -3%) is buying Sensor Platforms, a developer of software and algorithms that analyze the motion/context data provided by a phone's sensors, for $41M in cash.
- Sensor's products can be integrated with 3rd-party motion sensors (gyroscopes, acceleromoters, etc.) and sensor hubs, both to optimize apps/services for a particular context and to improve power efficiency. Apple has included a sensor hub (the M7) in its latest-gen iPhones and iPads, and various chipmakers are offering solutions for Android OEMs.
- Audience says the purchase positions it to "deliver compelling solutions based on the fusion of voice and motion." It arrives after Cirrus Logic made a couple of acquisitions that could help it better compete against Audience's voice processors.
Apr. 29, 2014, 7:53 AM
- Cirrus Logic (CRUS) is buying British rival Wolfson Microelectronics (WLFMF) for £2.35/share, or £278M ($467M), in cash. The price represents a 75% premium to Wolfson's Monday close in London
- Like Cirrus, Wolfson offers audio codec, amplifier, converter, and power management chips. The company also sells MEMS microphones (InvenSense recently entered this growing market), HD audio software (Cirrus thinks it could help differentiate its own products), noise cancellation chips, and several other audio products.
- Also like Cirrus, Wolfson has had its chips designed into Apple hardware. But with the company nowhere as Apple-dependent as Cirrus, the acquisition represents a fresh attempt to diversify away from its top client.
- Cirrus expects to close the deal in 2H14, and for it to be accretive in its first full quarter after closing.
- The acquisition could have implications for voice processor/audio codec developer Audience (ADNC), which competes to an extent against both Cirrus and Wolfson. Cirrus bought voice-processing tech developer Acoustic Technologies last October.
Oct. 1, 2013, 5:04 PM
- Cirrus (CRUS) has acquired Acoustic Technologies, a developer of voice-processing algorithms that cover noise reduction, echo cancellation, and voice quality enhancement, among other things. Terms are undisclosed. (PR)
- Accoustic, founded in 1998, has seen its technology integrated into a variety of mobile and automotive products. The company's 30-employee team is joining Cirrus.
- The acquisition could make Cirrus a tougher rival to Audience (ADNC), whose processors (and the algorithms baked into them) also aim to suppress noise and improve voice quality. And it might allow Cirrus to grow the amount of revenue it gets per audio codec chip sale to Apple and/or others.
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