Fri, Apr. 17, 9:17 AM
- UniPixel (NASDAQ:UNXL) is acquiring all manufacturing assets related to Atmel's (NASDAQ:ATML) XSense touch sensor ops, a rival to UniPixel's InTouch sensor line, and assuming related costs.
- UniPixel is also taking out a 5-year license (with a 10-year renewal option) on Atmel's XSense patent portfolio and other IP. Atmel will "receive minimum royalties during the initial five year term equal to $16.25 million, of which $9.33 million is being prepaid in cash at close."
- The deal comes two months after Atmel took a $26.6M charge on XSense manufacturing assets, and ahead of Atmel's May 6 Q1 report. It also follows numerous delays by UniPixel in ramping InTouch production.
- UniPixel has soared to $8.55 premarket. Atmel is unchanged.
- Update: UniPixel wound up closing down 6.9% following the news.
Wed, Apr. 1, 5:55 PM
- Atmel's (NASDAQ:ATML) SAM L21 family of ARM-based (NASDAQ:ARMH) microcontrollers consume less than 35 microamps of power per MHz., far below the 120-160 microamps consumed by most low-power controllers. That, together with a sleep mode power draw of less than 200 nanoamps and various power-saving features, leads Atmel to claim the chips can enable embedded/wearable devices and sensors with battery lives of 10 years or more.
- The SAM L21, which comes with built-in flash and SRAM, delivered a score of 185 an industry power benchmark - Atmel states that's 50% above its closest competitor (an STMicroelectronics chip).
- The company argues its support for 5 different "power domains" (compared with just 2 for other chips) with varying levels of resource use improves power efficiency, and that devices containing SAM L21 chips might potentially be powered off energy captured from the human body.
- In addition to Atmel, Freescale and other ARM microcontroller vendors are working on ultra-low-power chips meant for embedded devices. Intel is going after the opportunity via its tiny Quark CPUs.
Wed, Mar. 25, 12:03 PM
- Chip stocks are particularly hard-hit (SOXX -3.6%) on a rough day for tech. The Nasdaq is down 1.3%, and the S&P 0.7%. Going into today, good earnings reports and ongoing M&A activity had led the Philadelphia Semi Index to rise 10% from its Jan. 30 close; the index remains up nearly 2x from its fall 2012 lows.
- AMD (AMD -7.2%) is a major decliner following a UBS downgrade. AMD rival/GPU giant Nvidia (NVDA -5.2%) and memory giant Micron (MU -3.7%) are also selling off, as are merger partners NXP (NXPI -3.8%) and Freescale (FSL -3.4%), RF chipmakers Avago (AVGO -5.2%), Skyworks (SWKS -5.3%), and Qorvo (QRVO -7.1%), LED/RF chipmaker Cree (CREE -4.1%), and high-flying video processor developer Ambarella (AMBA -4.3%).
- Other decliners include telecom chipmakers/ARM server CPU vendors Cavium (CAVM -4.8%) and AppliedMicro (AMCC -4.4%), microcontroller vendors Atmel (ATML -3.5%), Cypress (CY -5.5%), and STMicroelectronics (STM -3.5%), voice processor developer Audience (ADNC -3.7%), analog/mixed-signal chipmakers Linear (LLTC -3.7%), Maxim (MXIM -3%), and Intersil (ISIL -3.5%), FPGA maker Lattice (LSCC -3.9%), and mixed-signal/wireless charging IC developer IDT (IDTI -5.4%).
- Chip equipment, IP, and foundry providers are also underperforming. Big decliners include ARM (ARMH -4.4%), KLA-Tencor (KLAC -4.2%), Lam Research (LRCX -5.4%), ASML (ASML -4.1%), TowerJazz (TSEM -4.3%), Mattson (MTSN -4.5%), Ultratech (UTEK -4.7%), and Tessera (TSRA -6.1%). ASML has been downgraded to Hold by Banco Santander.
- TSMC (TSM -4.6%) is among the decliners in spite of a Digitimes report stating the foundry giant's sales are expected to rise 0%-5% Q/Q in Q2 - consensus is for a 2% drop - with strong Apple A8 CPU orders offsetting soft Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 orders.
- Chip ETFs: SMH, XSD, PSI, SOXL, USD, SOXS, SSG
Mon, Mar. 23, 3:15 PM
- Today's notable tech gainers include OLED materials/IP provider Universal Display (OLED +5.7%), salvage auction site Liquidity Services (LQDT +6.2%), auto site TrueCar (TRUE +8.5%), touchscreen tech developer Neonode (NEON +10.4%), hard drive assembly supplier Hutchison (HTCH +7.1%), Web site owner/ISP United Online (UNTD +5.5%), software outsourcing firm Luxoft (LXFT +5.6%), optical component vendor NeoPhotonics (NPTN +8.3%), and U.S. solar installer Solar3D (SLTD +15.2%).
- Many Chinese names are also rallying today. Standouts include online real estate plays SouFun (SFUN +6.9%), E-House (EJ +4%), and Leju (LEJU +8.1%), online beauty product retailer Jumei (JMEI +5.9%), online classifieds platform 58.com (WUBA +5%), and app developers/publishers Sungy Mobile (GOMO +4.7%), Cheetah Mobile (CMCM +7.6%), and China Mobile Games (CMGE +5.9%).
- The list of major decliners is smaller: It includes cloud healthcare software firm Castlight (CSLT -4.8%), microcontroller maker Atmel (ATML -3.1%), supply chain software vendor Manhattan Associates (MANH -4.3%), Chinese solar cell/module maker ReneSola (SOL -5.9%), and RF filter tech developer Resonant (RESN -8.6%).
- Universal Display is rallying to new 52-week highs yet again amid Galaxy S6 enthusiasm. Solar3D is now up 42% over the last 3 trading days. Heavily-shorted Cheetah Mobile is reversing Friday's post-earnings losses. Castlight is adding to the losses seen on Friday following a neutral Wells Fargo launch.
- Previously covered: Digital Ally, Sonus, xG Technology, IPG Photonics, CyberArk, Immersion, Nvidia, EZchip
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
Wed, Feb. 4, 6:09 PM
- Along with its Q4 numbers Atmel (NASDAQ:ATML) announces it's initiating a $0.04/share quarterly dividend, good for a 2% yield at current levels. The first dividend is payable on March 26 to shareholders on record as of the March 16 close.
- The microcontroller/touch controller vendor adds it plans to continue buying back shares while it pays out dividends. $21.9M was spent on buybacks in Q4, and $209M is currently remaining on Atmel's buyback authorization.
- On the CC, Atmel guided for Q1 revenue of $306M-$324M, below a $338.2M consensus. A $26.6M Q4 impairment charge was taken on manufacturing assets for the company's XSense touch sensor ops.
- Shares are down to $8.00 AH.
- Q4 results, PR
Wed, Feb. 4, 4:18 PM
Tue, Feb. 3, 5:35 PM
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Thu, Jan. 15, 6:05 PM
Thu, Jan. 8, 4:18 PM
- Hit hard on Tuesday amid a market rout, chip stocks have more than made up for it today: The Philadelphia Semi Index (SOXX +3%) handily exceeded the Nasdaq's 1.8% gain. The index posted a 1% gain yesterday.
- Micron (MU +4.9%) has been one of the standouts, more than recouping yesterday's post-earnings losses. Ditto Freescale (FSL +9.2%), which benefited from a Deutsche target hike, and Marvell, which got a lift from an MKM note. Others: NVDA +3.8%. NXPI +4.7%. AVGO +5%. SWKS +4.5%. CY +6.1%. CODE +5.9%. CAVM +5.2%. SWKS +4.5%. SLAB +4.5%. KLIC +3.8%. SMTC +3.6%. ATML +3.7%. FCS +4.2%. TSEM +4.2%.
- As is their custom, both chipmakers and their clients have been unveiling plenty of new products at CES.
- ETFs: SMH, XSD, PSI, SOXL, USD, SOXS, SSG
Mon, Jan. 5, 8:09 PM
- With the help of recently-acquired Wilocity, Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) plans to show off tri-band wireless home networking chipsets that support both 2.4GHz./5GHz. 802.11ac Wi-Fi and the nascent WiGig standard (uses 60GHz. short-range connections as a USB/HDMI replacement).
- Qualcomm also states: 1) Its high-end Snapdragon 810 baseband/app processor (due in hardware in 1H15) now supports the Quick Charge 2.0 and WiPower wireless charging standards. 2) It's partnering with drug giant Novartis to offer "a global connectivity platform for collecting and aggregating medical device data during clinical trials."
- A year after launching the Tegra K1 at CES, Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) has unveiled the Tegra X1. The X1 uses a more advanced manufacturing process (20nm vs. 28nm), replaces the K1's Kepler GPU with a next-gen Maxwell GPU (a key differentiator), and pairs four powerful cores with four smaller/low-power ones (ARM's big.LITTLE architecture). Nvidia, which has Tegra sales to the auto market grow rapidly, is also showing off two Tegra-powered "automotive computers."
- Broadcom (NASDAQ:BRCM), battling with Qualcomm and others in the Wi-Fi chip market, has launched new 802.11ac chips for routers, broadband gateways, and set-tops - one is said to deliver up to a 4x speed boost through the use of MU-MIMO - as well as a dual-core network processor for Wi-Fi routers.
- Other Broadcom launches: 1) An NFC chip for cars. 2) An automotive Ethernet chip declared to be the industry's most power-efficient. 3) A satellite device for outdoor units that supports up to 32 set-tops.
- Atmel (NASDAQ:ATML) has launched new ARM-based microcontrollers for wearables and managing sensor hubs, and a Bluetooth IC for embedded/wearable devices said to deliver unmatched dynamic power draw and sub-1µA standby power draw.
- Prior CES news
Fri, Jan. 2, 8:28 AM
- Citing growing competition and potential fingerprint sensor share loss, Pac Crest has downgraded Synaptics (NASDAQ:SYNA) to Sector Perform. The firm had been bullish on Synaptics since Jan. 2013, when shares were in the 30s.
- Pac Crest's downgrade comes two weeks after rivals Atmel (NASDAQ:ATML) and Fingerprint Cards announced a partnership; it could take time toy yield results. In the near-term, iPhone 6 share gains could affect Synaptics' fingerprint sensor share, since Apple relies on proprietary sensor tech obtained through the AuthenTec acquisition.
- Synaptics now only goes for 10x estimated FY16 (ends June '16) EPS. FQ2 guidance was hiked a month ago.
Dec. 22, 2014, 5:52 PM
- Atmel (NASDAQ:ATML) is partnering with Swedish fingerprint sensor/module maker Fingerprint Cards (FPC) to offer solutions that pair Atmel's maXTouch touch controllers with FPC's sensors.
- The alliance takes aim at Atmel touch controller rival Synaptics (NASDAQ:SYNA), which last year bought fingerprint sensor firm Validity Sensors. Since then, Validity has outperformed expectations, racking up design wins with Android OEMs trying to counter Apple's integration of proprietary fingerprint sensors within iDevices.
- Last week, Needham's Rajvindra Gill included both Atmel and Synaptics on his list of top 2015 picks. He likes Atmel's efforts to go after IoT, auto, and industrial opportunities for its microcontrollers and connectivity chips, and thinks Synaptics' integrated touch controller/display driver (TDDI) offerings could help transform it into "a platform company that dominates all the chips on the display motherboard (i.e., touch, fingerprint, display driver IC).”
Dec. 3, 2014, 1:48 PM
- The Philadelphia Semi Index (SOXX +1.7%) is making fresh highs after Microchip (MCHP +4.1%) slightly upped its calendar Q4 guidance, and stated it continues to "see an improvement in our bookings and billings since our earnings call on October 30, 2014."
- Chip stocks had also jumped following that earnings call, during which Microchip said it believed the inventory correction that triggered an Oct. 9 warning (and a major chip stock selloff) was mostly over. While a slew of chipmakers provided soft Q4 guidance after Microchip's warning, fears of a major correction didn't pan out.
- The group outperformed a bit yesterday after Cypress (CY +2.9%) announced it's merging with Spansion (CODE +2.5%), continuing the chip industry's consolidation wave. Several firms have upgraded Cypress and/or Spansion in response, praising the deal's cost synergies.
- Notable gainers include not only chipmakers, but also chip equipment, test/assembly, and IP licensing firms: ARMH +3.8%. AMBA +3%. MX +9%. MXIM +4.2%. AMCC +3.5%. ADI +3.1%. SIMG +3.7%. AMKR +4.2%. SPIL +3.3%. SYNA +2.7%. ATML +3.7%. ENTR +3.8%. AMAT +2.7%. KLAC +2.5%.
- Chip ETFs: SMH, XSD, PSI, SOXL, USD, SOXS, SSG
- Last week: Chip stocks rally after ADI's earnings
Dec. 2, 2014, 12:33 PM
- Atmel (ATML +2%) and Synaptics (SYNA +2.8%) are seeing healthy gains after touch controller rival Cypress announced it's merging with NOR flash vendor Spansion, the latest in a series of big M&A deals to hit the semi industry. Cypress and Spansion have both soared.
- Atmel also squares off against Cypress in other microcontroller markets. Synaptics, which has been gaining touch controller share, recently closed a $465M deal to buy LCD driver IC vendor Renesas SP Drivers.
Oct. 31, 2014, 11:31 AM
- Three weeks after providing a calendar Q3 warning that triggered a massive chip stock rout, Microchip (MCHP +7.3%) has provided Q4 guidance that's in-line with lowered estimates. The microcontroller vendor, which has often seen trends emerge ahead of peers, also said it saw most of its inventory correction in Q3, and expects Q4 sales to be just "slightly below typical seasonal levels."
- Chip stocks are up strongly (SOXX +4%) on a day the Nasdaq is up 1.4%. Since Microchip's warning, a slew of analog chipmakers and microcontroller firms (e.g. Atmel, Freescale, STMicro, Intersil, Linear) have offered light Q4 guidance, and other firms have reported seeing high-end Android weakness (e.g. Synaptics, Cirrus Logic, Amkor).
- On the other hand, several mobile chipmakers (Skyworks, RF Micro, TriQuint, Silicon Motion), some of which have decent iPhone exposure, have provided strong results and/or guidance. Other chipmakers, such as Broadcom, Texas Instruments, and Xilinx, have rallied after delivering in-line guidance.
- Susquehanna's Chris Caso: "By now, we think it’s clear that the weakness MCHP saw in September is not company specific ... The question now is if the full extent of the weakness has been dialed into estimates. If it has, then this would be among the shortest and mildest downturns in many years."
- Notable gainers: SNDK +3.9%. MU +4.1%. AMAT +3.9%. TXN +4.7%. NXPI +3.9%. NVDA +3.5%. MXIM +4.7%. LLTC +5.1%. FCS +9.6%. FSL +8.8%. ADI +6.5%. TQNT +6.8%. RFMD +6.5%. ATML +5.9%. AVGO +5.1%. MRVL +4.7%. AMCC +8.9%. BRCM +3.6%. TSM +4.4%. ARMH +3.3%.
- Intel (INTC +3.5%) has recovered most of the losses it saw yesterday due to Intesil's (ISIL +3.3%) results and guidance, and related comments about a PC chip inventory correction.
- Chip ETFs: SMH, XSD, PSI, SOXL, USD, SOXS, SSG
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