20 deals that shaped analog, MEMS and sensors in 2016

December 14, 2016 // By Peter Clarke
Consolidation in the electronics and semiconductor sectors increased in pace yet again in 2016, up on the three previous years.

And so we have expanded a top 15 deals list to a top 20 laid out in roughly chronological order – and the year isn't over yet!

1) Qualcomm forms RF joint venture with TDK

The year started pretty much in the spirit that it was going to continue, with the announcement of a $3 billion plan to form RF360 Holdings from two protagonists that would be heard of latter in the year (see Qualcomm, TDK prep $3bn RF joint venture).

2) Sony buys Altair for LTE

Also in January Sony made a move on one of the most successful of Silicon 60 startups. It offered over $200 million but whereas Altair has previously tried to sell LTE into mobile phones Sony appears to be interested in wireless technology of IoT (see Sony buys Altair to get LTE for IoT).

3) Qorvo buys GreenPeak

Qorvo Inc. is an RF chip company created out of the merger of RF Microdevices and TriQuint at the end of 2014. GreenPeak Technologies NV was a short-range wireless company formed by the merger of Dutch company Xanadu Wireless and the Belgian company Ubiwave in July 2007. Now they are one (see Qorvo buys wireless IoT specialist GreenPeak).

4) AMS buys and buys and buys

Austria's AMS AG was active in 2016 with a number of smaller acquisitions so we have listed them all together. The first was for Cambridge CMOS Sensors in June, followed by Mazet in July. The largest deal is potentially worth $850 million for Heptagon Pte. Ltd. of Singapore. (see AMS buys Cambridge sensor startup, AMS acquires MAZeT for color, spectral sensing and AMS to pay up to $850 million for optical business).

5) China buys an Italian fab

Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (SMIC) is China's largest dedicated semiconductor foundry and potentially part of a campaign by the Chinese state to buy its way into prominence in the global semiconductor industry. However in June SMIC announced a relatively low cost deal to acquire a 70 percent stake in specialty foundry LFoundry SRL for about $55 million. (see SMIC buys Italian chip foundry).

Next: From Munich to Grenoble