Broadcom, Qualcomm Latest Acquirers in Busy Chip Space

1 - Broadcom, Qualcomm Latest Acquirers in Busy Chip Space
2 - Qualcomm Gets Ready to Take the Wheel
3 - NXP Still Digesting Freescale
4 - Broadcom in the Middle of It All
5 - Avago Becomes Broadcom
6 - Broadcom Makes WICED Deal With Cypress
7 - Intel Accelerates Into the Future
8 - Renesas and the IoT
9 - Softbank Flexes Its ARM
10 - China Comes Shopping and Buys Lattice
11 - Tsinghua on the Move
12 - So, Who's Next?
13 - Making Room for New Blood
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Broadcom, Qualcomm Latest Acquirers in Busy Chip Space

As competitors gobble each other up to boost their market share and IT, the semiconductor space is consolidating. Here's a look at some notable acquisition deals.

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Qualcomm Gets Ready to Take the Wheel

Qualcomm's $47 billion acquisition of NXP Semiconductors will give it a boost in such fast-growing industries as automotive technologies and IoT. The deal continues Qualcomm's efforts to grow beyond mobile devices, which have included other acquisitions such as British chip maker CSR for $2.5 billion in 2014. There were reports that Intel and Texas Instruments also were interested in NXP.

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NXP Still Digesting Freescale

Qualcomm's bid for NXP comes only a year after NXP bought Freescale Semiconductor for $12 billion in a move to bolster its capabilities in automotive—including self-driving cars—and other areas. The merged company includes $10 billion in combined revenue and 45,000 employees.

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Broadcom in the Middle of It All

In a bid to broaden its capabilities in storage-area networks (SANs), Broadcom officials this month announced the company was buying Brocade Communications for $5.9 billion. Broadcom's focus is on Brocade's SAN technology, and so officials plan to sell off Brocade's IP networking business, including the recently acquired Ruckus Wireless.

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Avago Becomes Broadcom

Avago Technologies, which was born in 2005 after spinning out of Agilent—which itself had spun out of Hewlett-Packard in 1999—bought Broadcom in 2015 for $37 billion and adopted the Broadcom name. It was the highest-priced acquisition in the chip industry until Qualcomm's bid for NXP. Since launching in 2005, Avago made several other acquisitions, including CyOptics, LSI and Emulex.

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Broadcom Makes WICED Deal With Cypress

Soon after the Avago deal, the new Broadcom sold its WICED (Wireless Internet Connectivity for Embedded Devices, pronounced "wicked") platform for IoT and wearable devices to Cypress Semiconductor for $550 million.

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Intel Accelerates Into the Future

In 2015, Intel spent $16.7 billion to buy Altera, a company that makes accelerator technology known as field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), chips that can be programmed by the user. FPGAs are a key part of Intel's plans for everything from IoT to the data center.

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Renesas and the IoT

Renesas, a system-on-a-chip (SoC) maker, is buying Intersil for $3.2 billion in a move to make a push into IoT, connected cars and other emerging markets. Intersil's strengths are around power management and precision capabilities in analog chips.

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Softbank Flexes Its ARM

In a surprise move in July, tech giant Softbank announced it is buying chip designer ARM for $32.2 billion as it looks to extend its reach deeper into the IoT. Softbank officials pledge that ARM, which designs the SoCs that power the bulk of the smartphones and tablets in the world, will remain an independent company that will get an even larger workforce.

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China Comes Shopping and Buys Lattice

Canyon Bridge Capital Partners, backed by $1.3 billion in Chinese funding, announced earlier this month it is buying Lattice Semiconductor, a U.S.-based programmable chip maker whose products are found in connected cars. The deal is the latest effort by China-based entities to buy U.S. chip companies.

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Tsinghua on the Move

Tsinghua Unigroup of China also has been an active investor in and pursuer of chip makers. The company has bought stakes in Imagination Technologies, Marvell Technology and Lattice, but attempts to acquire other vendors—including Micron and MediaTek—have been derailed by regulators in the United States and Taiwan.

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So, Who's Next?

The ongoing acquisition activity in the chip market has gotten industry observers wondering which company might be next, with vendors such as Xilinx considered an attractive target. Earlier this year, there was speculation that Qualcomm and Broadcom were interested in the FPGA maker.

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Making Room for New Blood

The comings and goings in the chip industry aren't keeping startups from trying to muscle into the space. New companies including SiFive, developer of open-source SoCs based on the RISC-V architecture, and Graphcore, creator of chips for machine learning called intelligent processing units, or IPUs, see room for new ideas.

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