The Week In Review: Manufacturing

More chip M&A; ISSI soap opera; photomask update; FD-SOI.

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Christopher Rolland, an analyst at FBR, made a startling statement in a recent report. “At the pace of consolidation set thus far this year, 32% of all U.S. publicly traded semiconductor companies would be acquired in 2015! While this run-rate is not likely sustainable and should slow as the year progresses, we still expect ~15% consolidation rates for the remainder of this cycle (above low-teens rates since the start of the decade),” Rolland said.

It must be a confusing time at U.S. memory maker Integrated Silicon Solution Inc. (ISSI). In March, a Chinese consortium of investors entered into a definitive agreement to acquire ISSI. Then, Cypress Semiconductor made a competitive bid for ISSI. And this week, ISSI agreed to terms with Cypress, but then suddenly changed its mind and went back to the group from China. Stay tuned.

Adding to the confusion is that Parade Technologies, a supplier of video displays and interface ICs, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Cypress Semiconductor’s TrueTouch Mobile touchscreen business for $100 million.

It’s been a wild year. So far this year, NXP has announced a definitive agreement to buy Freescale. Then, Avago moved to acquire Broadcom. And then Intel has announced a definitive agreement to buy Altera. What’s next? “Reuters published a story, corroborated by multiple sources, claiming that Atmel had hired Qatalyst Partners to explore strategic alternatives for the company including a possible sale. Atmel remains our top takeout candidate, and in light of the change of control provision, we are raising the odds of a buyout in the next 12 months from ~25% to ~40%,” FBR’s Rolland said.

In a video, Aki Fujimura, chief executive of D2S, summed up the hot topics at Photomask Japan. This includes the progress of EUV and e-beam thermal effect correction with GPU acceleration.

In a separate video, David Lam, chairman of Multibeam, provides an update on its efforts in complementary eBeam lithography (CEBL).

Applied Materials has approved a quarterly cash dividend of $0.10 per share payable on the company’s common stock.

SEMI reported that worldwide semiconductor manufacturing equipment billings reached $9.52 billion in the first quarter of 2015. The billings figure is 7% higher than the fourth quarter of 2014 and 6% lower than the same quarter a year ago.

CEA-Leti has announced that several companies have joined its new FD-SOI IC development program, dubbed Silicon Impulse. The program consists of CEA-Leti,STMicroelectronics, Dolphin Integration, CMP, Mentor Graphics, Cortus and Presto Engineering.

Samsung Electronics has introduced a new line of chip-on-board (COB) LED packages.

Chipmaker GSI Technology has received from GigOptix an unsolicited, non-binding proposal to acquire GSI.