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© kritchanut dreamstime.com Business | November 19, 2015

The madness that is the semiconductor industry

And there we had another bang, On Semiconductor acquired Fairchild for USD 2.4 billion. This year has, in many ways, completely changed the semiconductor landscape.
But the year started – as always – with January and during that month we saw Vishay taking over Capella Microsystems , which was soon followed by Lattice Semi's USD 600 million acquisition of Silicon Image.

Here in Sweden it was still pitch black outside with only hints of light shining through the clouds when Silicon Labs acquired Bluegiga in February. However, the month saw a few more acquisitions. IXYS acquired RadioPulse and MaxLinear went on and bagged Entropic; all on the same day. A few days went by before we saw the next deal, which was the completion of NXP's acquisition of Quintic. The month ended with FotoNation acquisition of UK-based Smart Sensors Limited.

Snow is starting to melt and we wade around in slush (as we tend to get new snow during the nights) when the news hit; NXP was going to acquire Freescale in a USD 11.8 billion deal. Also in March and on a slightly smaller scale – but not less important – Semtech acquired Triune Systems for USD 45 million.

Lattice Semiconductor closed its acquisition of Silicon Image and NXP continued its aggressive acquisition spree with the purchase of Athena SCS. The month, which had already seen quite a bit of activity ended with Microsemi's takeover of Vitesse Semiconductor and National Instruments acquisition of BEEcube.

In April we'd thought we had ridden out the worst of the storm, as the month offered a much slower pace than March with only one acquisition where Silicon Motion took over Shannon Systems.

But boy were we wrong. Out of a clear blue sky Microchip announced that it would acquire Micrel and then like a thunderbolt, a USD 37 billion deal under which Avago was to acquire Broadcom appeared. Surely this had to be the end of this madness!

Once again, the answer is 'No'. In June, Intel officially put an end to the rumours when announcing that it would acquire Altera, creating a new powerhouse (as if it wasn't already big enough). In quick succession Cypress and Spansion completed their USD 5 billion merger, days later Synopsys went on to acquire Atrenta, ISSI agreed to a merger with Cypress and Ultra acquired an RF and Microwave supplier. Then - just to confuse everyone - came Uphill Investment and trumped Cypress offer for ISSI. As someone undoubtedly more famous then myself commented: "We're looking at a perfect storm.".

July and August offered more of the same; GlobalFoundries completed its acquisition of IBM's semi business (), the battle for ISSI finally ended. AMS acquired the CMOS sensor business from NXP (which had been on an acquisition spree itself earlier this year). Microchip completed its purchase of Micrel and Autoliv did the same with its acquisition of MACOM's Automotive Business.

Summer had passed and we thought that we could finally get a breather, but guess what? – wrong again. In early September, Diodes came to the party with its acquisition of Pericom Semiconductor, which was followed by yet another billion-class deal under which Dialog acquired Atmel for USD 4.6 billion. GigOptix kept the trend going by taking on Terasquare in late September.

We were entering October, and we were desperate for a slowdown. It's the month before the big shows in Munich and we needed time to prepare. Did the semiconductor industry care? – No. Fujifilm announced its acquisition Ultra Pure Solutions, Jordan Valley Semiconductors was bought by Bruker, Sony found a Belgian image sensor technology company it wanted to buy. We got about a week before the next wave came. Ultra Electronics acquired Furnace Parts, SanDisk was acquired by Western Digital in a USD 19 billion deal, and IDT went on to buy ZMDI for USD 310 million. Sony confirmed its plans to acquire Toshiba’s sensor business and National Instruments bought Micropross for EUR 95 million.

And now, in November, with the months running out – Semiconductor madness continues its merry-go-round – as On Semi buys Fairchild for USD 2.4 billion.

I'm not sure I can take December... And we still have the ongoing battle over PMC-Sierra
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