IC Insights analysts recorded more than 30 semiconductor takeovers last year, with a total value of $31.7 billion. Compared to 2018 ($25.9 billion), this figure represents a jump of 22 percent. Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in 2019 thus reached the third highest level ever measured - but still far behind the historic highs of 2015 and 2016.
"It appears that since 2015, M&A activity has been leveling off at a new normal level of around $25-30 billion per year," write IC Insights analysts. Consolidation in the chip industry is accelerating, and large companies have been trying to boost their growth rates by acquiring new products and technologies during this decade. Candidates for acquisitions are found in growth sectors such as machine learning, AI, autonomous vehicles, people recognition, computer vision, virtual/augmented reality and networking via fast wireless connections.
The M&A value in the years 2015 to 2019 was 4 times higher than in the period between 2010 and 2014, with IC Insights focusing on the activities of semiconductor manufacturers, IP and process technology developers, and wafer fabs. Acquisitions in the material and equipment manufacturers, in the packaging and test industry and in the EDA sector were not taken into account.
Seven acquisitions exceeded $1 billion in 2019:
- Infineon plans to acquire Cypress for $9.4 billion
- Nvidia acquires Mellanox for $6.9 billion
- ams buys Osram for 5.1 billion dollars
- Intel buys Habana Labs for $2 billion
- NXP acquires Marvell's WiFi connectivity business for $1.8 billion
- ON Semiconductor swallows Quantum Communications for $1.1 billion
- Apple buys Intel's smartphone modem business for $1 billion