October 27, 2016
Qualcomm, known for its mobile processors and wireless modems, has agreed to purchase NXP Semiconductors for $39 billion. Including debt, the acquisition is valued at $47 billion, representing the largest semiconductor deal to date. The agreement exceeds the Avago Technologies $37 billion deal to buy Broadcom Corp. In terms of pure tech deals, the agreement lands behind only Dell’s $60 billion purchase of EMC. Dutch company NXP, formerly Philips Semiconductors, is a leader in the growing automotive-chip market, and Qualcomm wants to supply its chips for autonomous vehicles.
“The deal will reshape Qualcomm, pushing the company deeper into the process of making chips and expanding its product line beyond mobile devices,” reports The Wall Street Journal. “While Qualcomm derives most of its revenue from designing and selling chips, the company earns more than half of its profits from licensing its wireless patents to nearly all makers of mobile phones.”
According to The Verge, “NXP’s business focus has been increasingly turning toward automotive and Internet of Things applications, and Qualcomm has already signaled its intent to grow beyond its traditional strength of smartphones into those new areas of growth.”
NXP purchased Freescale Semiconductor last year, and currently operates seven factories that manufacture chips from silicon wafers. The company also owns facilities for testing and packaging chips. In addition, NXP manufactures NFC chips for short-range wireless tech.
The semiconductor industry has seen “more than $200 billion in deals since the beginning of 2015,” notes WSJ. “The deals come as sales growth has faded at many of the once-burgeoning companies because big chip markets — such as those for smartphones and personal computers — have ebbed.”