Infineon buys IR

Infineon is to buy the world’s oldest independent semiconductor company, International Rectifier, for $3 billion. The deal is 50% above IR’s market cap yesterday.

Dr Reinhard Ploss - Infineon

Dr Reinhard Ploss – Infineon

Founded in 1947, IR has been run as a standalone semiconductor company – until today.

Eric Lidow, who died last year aged 100, co-founded IR with his father. He was CEO until 1995 but even after handing the management of the company to his two sons, he was still going into into the office every day at the age of 94.

The two sons, Alex and Derek became co-CEO in 1995, but Derek left in 1999 to set up the semiconductor industry analyst company iSuppli.

“The acquisition of International Rectifier is a unique opportunity,” says Dr Reinhard Ploss Infineon’s CEO, “with their great knowledge of specific customer needs and their application understanding, International Rectifier employees will contribute to Infineon’s strategic development from product thinking to system understanding and system solutions. The combination of Infineon’s and International Rectifier’s products, technological and innovative excellence, as well as distributional strength will unleash great potential.”

Infineon says its and IR’s product portfolios are highly complementary. IR’s expertise in low-power, IGBTs, intelligent power modules, power mosfets and digital power management ICs will integrate with Infineon’s offering in power devices and modules.

With IR, Infineon acquires its in-house gallium nitride on silicon (GaN) process which, unlike several others, is producing real power semiconductors.

Infineon already has a silicon carbide (SiC) process and products, so now it can make discretes and integrated circuits with both of the new kids on the power block, as well as using its established silicon power processes.

The integration of International Rectifier will generate economies of scale through optimisation of the combined entity’s operating expense structure and through the acceleration of the ramp-up of Infineon’s leading 300-millimeter thin wafer manufacturing capability.

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