The Week In Review: Manufacturing

Poison foundry pill; Samsung’s giant fab; GF’s embedded flash; ASE-TDK venture; mask outlook.

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Investment firm TIG Advisors, a stockholder of Altera, has urged stockholders to vote against Altera’s lead independent director to the board. TIG also contends that Altera has failed stockholders by rejecting a recent acquisition bid from Intel. Altera’s 14nm foundry partner is Intel, while TSMC handles the 20nm and above foundry work. Soon, Altera will choose a 10nm foundry partner. “Should Altera choose Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited over Intel as the manufacturer of its 10nm chip, this could immediately make a potential acquisition of the company unattractive to Intel. We view the foundry partner decision as a potential ‘poison pill’, allowing management to effectively ward off an offer from Intel without soliciting stockholder input,” according to TIG.

Samsung broke ground on a new semiconductor fabrication plant in the company’s Godeok Industrial Complex in Pyeongtaek, Korea earlier this week. The fab was originally announced last year. Now, according to reports, Samsung will invest some $14 billion in the facility. Operations at the new facility are expected to start sooner than originally planned with initial production likely to commence within the first half of 2017. No final decision has been made on what specific products will be manufactured there.

Samsung has introduced an advanced chip scale packaging (CSP) technology for use in LED lighting applications. In addition, Samsung has introduced the LM301A, a flip-chip-based mid-power LED package that can operate at anywhere from 0.2 watts to 1 watt.

GlobalFoundries has announced the qualification and availability of SST’s 55nm embedded SuperFlash non-volatile memory on its 55nm low power extended (LPx)/RF enabled platform.

SEMI reports that the worldwide semiconductor photomask market was $3.2 billion in 2014 and is forecasted to reach $3.4 billion in 2016. After increasing 1% in 2013, the photomask market increased 3% in 2014. The mask market is expected to grow 4% and 3% in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE) and TDK will establish a joint venture company to manufacture IC embedded substrates using TDK’s SESUB (Semiconductor Embedded SUBstrate) technology. ASE and TDK plan to own 51% and 49%, respectively, of the newly created entity. The name of the joint venture company will be ASE Embedded Electronics Inc., and its manufacturing facility is planned to be located in the Nantze Export Processing Zone, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan. The SESUB technology enables semiconductor chips to be thinned down to as low as 50 μm and embedded in a four-layer plastic substrate.

ATREG and Cushman & Wakefield will soon take bids for the sale of Renesas Electronics’ 23.4-acre Kofu technology campus in Japan. The bidding starts on July 8, 2015.

Microchip Technology has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Micrel for $839 million.

Dialog Semiconductor will purchase a 40% stake in Dyna Image, a subsidiary of Lite-On Semiconductor. ShunSin Technology, a Foxconn subsidiary, will also take an equity position in Dyna Image. Dyna Image, a sensor maker, will be spun out from Lite-On.

GaN Systems, a developer of gallium nitride (GaN) power switching semiconductors, has garnered $20 million in venture capital financing. Cycle Capital Management led the round and was joined by BDC Capital and Beijing-based Tsing Capital, as well as existing investors Chrysalix Energy Venture Capital and RockPort Capital.

Stiff competition in sensors for high-volume design wins and a recovery in actuator growth shuffled the ranking of suppliers in the $9.2 billion market for sensors and actuators in 2014, according to IC Insights.