Apache Update: Five Important Questions

The future is still somewhat murky, but the reasons for the merger and the role of Apache are clearer.

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By Ed Sperling
It was supposed to be the first IPO since Magma went public in 2001. Instead, Apache was bought by Ansys in a deal that closed earlier this month—at a record pace for the EDA industry of less than two months since it was announced.

So what exactly was behind the acquisition and why did Apache agree to sell? And what will become of Apache within the much larger Ansys?

Low-Power Engineering posed those questions and others to Andrew Yang, former CEO of Apache and now the president of Apache Design Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Ansys.

1. Why did Apache opt to be acquired rather than continuing with its IPO?
According to Yang, the answer was “a convergence of vision.” “Their vision has gone initially from mechanical simulation to fluid dynamics to electronics. Our vision started as chip-centric with a focus on power to package and board. So they’ve gone from system-level to electronic to IC and we’ve gone from IC to system level to board. Our thought was that either we remain separate and hire a lot of engineers with system-level expertise, or we joint hands to accelerate the same vision.”

2. What happens to Apache now that the deal has closed?
Apache will be a wholly owned subsidiary, but it also will be a separate division. “The reason we agreed to a deal with Ansys—and the whole discussion from our first meeting only took seven weeks—was that they have a history of acquiring companies of strength, not remodeling them. Our core focus will be leveraging each other’s resources and leveraging their channel for underserved markets,” Yang said. But he stressed that Apache will remain focused on its customers and existing tools, as well as exploring synergies.

3. What will happen to Apache’s focus on 3D stacking?
Ansys also has focused on stacked die from the thermal side. Apache’s focus has been from the power and power modeling side. “This will accelerate an integrated solution,” Yang said.

4. What about overlap and synergies?
Overlap is minimal, according to Yang. Synergies are still understood and developed. The key to the combined company will be to figure out “what the customer needs and what the competition lacks.” Talks are underway to figure out how the companies’ combined strengths can be extended into new markets and approaches, but one of the keys for Apache is Ansys’ strong, well developed sales and distribution channel.

5. What are the challenges ahead?
Figuring out exactly how to work together in the future. At this point, there is no comment about future directions, additional potential acquisitions and which companies will be viewed as the top competitors.