Renesas acquisition of Intersil to package processing, power management

September 15, 2016 OpenSystems Media

Consolidation of the semiconductor industry continues as Renesas has agreed to acquire analog and mixed-signal IC vendor Intersil for roughly $3.2 billion. The combination of Intersil’s power management and precision analog technology will slide in next to Renesas’ microcontroller (MCU) and system on chip (SoC) offerings to enable more comprehensive solutions for multiple markets.

Although Necip Sayiner, President, CEO, and Director of Intersil is adamant that his company had not been on the market, he said in an interview that the technology and financials “made strategic sense.” Outside of complementary clientele and organizational structures, the new product portfolio will provide integration opportunities for Renesas platforms, for example, with solutions like the Renesas R-Car SoC incorporating Intersil PMICs and the RH850 MCU family adding in Intersil battery management ICs (BMICs). The potential is particularly intriguing in segments such as automotive, where strongholds of Renesas processors will open doors for Intersil products beyond their traditional applications in rearview cameras and in-cab power management. Futher, Renesas strength in geographies such as Japan and Asia also opens up new markets for Intersil, and, of course, the opposite is also true. Intersil not only helps Renesas diversify into markets beyond automotive, but also gives the company a bigger footprint in the United States.

Another, and perhaps the most important benefit of the projected synergies is that, according to Sayiner, there will be very little downsizing as Intersil becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of Renesas. As always, it will be interesting to see how that plays out as the ink dries on this deal and investors and shareholders look to rebound from the hit Renesas stock took after the earthquake that shook Japan and the chipmaker’s main factory half a decade ago, but for now at least, the news is good.

A final thought on digital power

When asked about how Intersil’s digital power technologies will be put to use, Sayiner maintained that digital power-based modules would primarily serve higher power applications in network infrastructure. This is somewhat surprising given that the integration of this IP with Renesas MCUs, perhaps even in the same package, would be a logical play in industrial sectors that now represent the second largest market for Renesas/Intersil behind automotive. But again, it’s still early days.

Brandon Lewis, Technology Editor
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