Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test

Semi takeover targets; Semicon; fab tool forecast.


Semi takeover targets
Semiconductor M&A activity is heating up again. So who is next? “Within our coverage universe, we believe AMBA (Ambarella) and SLAB (Silicon Labs) represent the most likely targets moving forward,” according to KeyBanc in a research note.

KeyBanc also listed some other “M&A Combinations That Could Make Sense.” Some of these combos make sense, while others are wild guesses. Some will never happen.

Here’s two interesting combos: “We believe it would make sense for AVGO (Broadcom) longer term to acquire INTC (Intel), as Intel within the industry is such an outlier in over-spending on R&D and its mature PC segment would be ripe for Broadcom management to extract significant synergies,” according to the firm. “We believe MU (Micron) could potentially merge with STX (Seagate) at some point.”

Here’s another one: “We believe the recent combination of NANO (Nanometrics) and RTEC (Rudolph) creates a more competitive combined entity, while driving greater cash generation through more efficient R&D and SG&A,” according to the investment banking firm. “Once fully integrated, NANO plus RTEC will be the 14th largest semi equipment company; we think further consolidation of a smaller company in the process control space makes sense, with NVMI (Nova) being the most logical candidate. In the long term we also could see this new larger combination be a more attractive acquisition candidate for a large semi equipment company such as AMAT (Applied) or LRCX (Lam).

Semicon West
The Semicon West trade show took place this week in San Francisco. There were a slew of announcements at the event. Applied Materials, Coventor, Intel, KLA and others made various announcements.

Here are more Semicon announcements. Soitec and Kokusai Electric have expanded their collaboration to R&D activities at the Grenoble’s Substrate Innovation Center. Recently, Applied Materials signed a definitive agreement to acquire Kokusai Electric for $2.2 billion in cash.

EV Group has rolled out MLE (Maskless Exposure), a direct-write lithography technology aimed to address future back-end lithography needs for advanced packaging, MEMS, biomedical and high-density printed circuit board (PCB) applications. “Our new MLE technology excels in back-end lithography applications, where other patterning technologies, such as steppers, have to compromise on performance or cost. No longer will customers need to choose between resolution, speed, flexibility or cost of ownership for their back-end patterning needs,” said Paul Lindner, executive technology director at EV Group.

TEL has announced a partnership with BRIDG to develop tool and process technology needed for emerging technologies. Through this partnership, TEL and BRIDG will drive 200mm processing technology to the next level.

Oxford Instruments Plasma Technology (OIPT) has launched a plasma atomic layer deposition (ALD) high-volume manufacturing (HVM) solution delivering a step change needed to address fundamental challenges in the GaN power device industry.

SEMI has honored five industry leaders at Semicon for their accomplishments in developing standards for the electronics and related industries. In addition, SEMI has elected Kazuo Ushida, chairman and representative director at Nikon, as a new member of the SEMI International Board. In addition, SEMI confirmed the re-election of six current members to the board.

OEMs and chipmakers
Here’s some trade news: “The US government will issue licenses to companies seeking to sell American-made goods to China’s Huawei where there is no threat to national security,” according to CNBC.

Denso and Toyota have established a joint venture for research and advanced development of next-generation, in-vehicle semiconductors. The two companies will study the details and aim to establish the new company in 2020.

Market research
Global sales of semiconductor manufacturing equipment by original equipment manufacturers are projected to drop 18.4% to $52.7 billion in 2019 from last year’s historic high of $64.5 billion, according to SEMI.

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