The Week In Review: Manufacturing

Hype cycle; SOS acquisition; Applied’s outlook; going green; merger mania.


Gartner has released a chart, which tracks the “Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies in 2014.” According to the chart, here’s some of the technologies that are still a number of years away from reaching the marketplace: virtual personal assistants; human augmentation; brain-computer interface; quantum computing; smart robots; biochips; smart advisors; autonomous vehicles; and natural-language question answering.

Murata has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire all outstanding shares of Peregrine Semiconductor not owned by Murata, for $12.50 per share in cash, or a total transaction value of $471 million. Peregrine has been selling a silicon-on-sapphire (SOS) technology for many RF markets. SOS is a form of RF SOI. Last year, Peregrine devised a cheaper RF SOI technology. GlobalFoundries is the foundry for Peregrine’s RF SOI technology.

In a recent conference call to discuss its earnings, Gary Dickerson, chief executive and president of Applied Materials, said: “In terms of dollars, the finFET — or the foundry spending, is going to be higher than 3D NAND. What we see in DRAM next year is up some versus 2014.”

Lam Research has identified a number of metrics used to improve its impact on the environment. Lam also put separate programs in place to drive to these goals.

SEMI provided a status report on 450mm technology from the recent Semicon West trade show. In addition, North America-based manufacturers of semiconductor equipment posted $1.41 billion in orders worldwide in July 2014 and a book-to-bill ratio of 1.07, according to SEMI.

Several years ago, Intel acquired Infineon’s baseband IC business as a means to enter the cell-phone and smartphone chip market. Right now, Intel is developing a new cell-phone chipset for LTE. But still, Intel continues to struggle in the arena. The solution? “Our analysis shows that Intel could create greater shareholder value by purchasing mobile market share as opposed to their present strategy,” said Doug Freedman, an analyst withRBC Capital Markets, in a report. “In contrast, we find that if Intel were to purchase a company such as Mediatek–one of the few viable potential candidates we see based on demonstrated market share success–Intel would gain ~16% market share in the smartphone and tablet SoC market, with Mediatek’s revenue mainly in smartphones.”

Infineon will acquire International Rectifier for $40 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $3 billion. “Infineon stated that the primary reason for the acquisition was the complementary nature of the two businesses, allowing it to enter the low-power/low-voltage PM market. Infineon’s current expertise lies within high-power/high-voltage modules. The acquisition also gives Infineon access to gallium nitride, an emerging business at IR that we think could have eventually challenged Infineon’s super junction high-voltage business. Overall, management believes the deal will likely allow Infineon to increase its current ~12% share in the power management market,” said Christopher Rolland, an analyst with FBR.

OmniVision has received a preliminary non-binding proposal letter from Hua Capital Management (HCM), a Beijing-based investment management company. A group of investors led by HCM has proposed to acquire all of the outstanding shares of common stock of OmniVision for $29 per share.

GigOptix announced that it is proposing to acquire all of the outstanding shares of GSI Technology.

The ongoing reduction in feature sizes used to manufacture logic ICs has enhanced memory-chip performance, according to IC Insights.

Following on from a promising start to the tablet market in Q1 2014, the Q2 tablet market was up a mere 4.7% to 52.4 million units globally, according to new research from Strategy Analytics.

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