Friday, April 12, 2019
RF specialist Qorvo said it is buying Active-Semi International, a fabless company with expertise in power efficiency and power management, which have become critical skills for designing circuitry for 5G equipment, the Internet of things (IoT), and a rapidly growing list of other products.
Active-Semi is venture-backed and private. Given that, Qorvo is under no obligation to state what it payed for Active-Semi, and it didn’t. Active-Semi will become part of Qorvo’s Infrastructure and Defense Products (IDP) group.
Qorvo president and CEO Bob Bruggeworth said in a statement, “With the acquisition of Active-Semi, Qorvo will expand IDP’s product offerings for existing customers and extend our reach into new high-growth power management markets.”
In addition to 5G, Qorvo said those markets include industrial, data center, automotive, and smart home products.
Power efficiency is increasingly a core requirement in electronic applications in IDP’s existing markets, including 5G base stations, active phased arrays for defense, automotive, and IoT, Qorvo said.
Qorvo expects to complete the deal before the end of its fiscal first quarter, which ends June 29, 2019.
Qorvo has been quietly building itself into a company indispensable in the RF business, including advanced wireless devices, wired and wireless networks, and defense radar and communications. The company was created through the merger of RFMD and TriQuint, which was announced in 2014 and completed in 2015. A year later, Qorvo bought GreenPeak Technologies, which specialized in ultra-low power short-range wireless technologies.
Active-Semi was founded in either the Cayman Islands or in some otherwise nameless Silicon Valley location – the company’s web site and its other materials disagree on the matter. It’s a fabless design house that quickly established an international presence, setting up shop in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan in its first few years. It has since expanded into Israel, Vietnam, South Korea, and Malaysia.
Active-Semi was supported by several venture capital firms including USVP, Tenaya Capital, and LDV Partners; LG was also an investor. Several of the company’s current executives spent many years at Texas Instruments before joining Active-Semi.
The company designs mixed signal semiconductors, specializing in applications that require power management. Companies that use Active-Semi’s power management units (PMU) include Atmel, Freescale, Rockchip, Hisilicon, Ambarella, Marvell and SiliconMotion. It also designs intelligent motor control for everything from power hand tools to appliances to drones. Other product lines include power loss protection, battery management, and DC-DC converters mostly for USB products.
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