It has been a quiet year so far for mergers and acquisitions in electronics, but that changed Thursday with the announcement that German-based global electronics supplier Infineon Technologies AG has signed a definitive agreement to acquire GaN Systems, a supplier of GaN products and IP, in all-cash deal valued at $830 million.
The deal provides an immediate boost to Infineon’s GaN technology portfolio, enabling the company to provide a complete array of power solutions, whether they are silicon, silicon carbide, and now gallium nitride. The list of potential applications includes onboard chargers for electric vehicles, data center power supplies, and residential solar inverters, to name a few.
Wide bandgap semiconductors such a GaN and SiC have been the darlings of the semiconductor industry the past few years, as these technologies offer performance advantages for emerging applications such as electric vehicles. Even as the semiconductor market has slowed in recent months, wide bandgap semiconductors have held their own.
The Yole Group, in a June 2022 market research study, projects the power GaN market to grow at a 56% CAGR, reaching $2 billion by 2027. That includes the automotive GaN market, which is expected to $227 million by 2027, for a CAGR of 99% through that year.
TSMC Foundry Partner
GaN Systems, based in Ottawa, Canada, currently offers a portfolio of GaN transistors in ratings of 100 and 650 V, the latter commonly considered the upper voltage limit for GaN devices. The company is known for its strong IP portfolio and maintains relationships with leading-edge foundry partner TSMC. GaN Systems has opened offices in Shenzhen, China, and Hsinschu Science Park, Taiwan, where TSMC is headquartered.
At the same time, GaN Systems has been expanding its North American presence, expanding its operation at its Ottawa headquarters and opening up a design center in Dallas, TX.
Gaining access to GaN Systems technology and foundry partner capabilities would be an immediate advantage for Infineon, which itself has been expanding its presence in GaN. Infineon offers 400- and 600-V GaN transistors that use the company’s CoolGaN technology. These parts target consumer and industrial applications such as server, datacom, telecom, adapter/charger, wireless charging, and audio.
Infineon is also expanding its own production capacity. In February, the company announced it has started constructing a 300-mm Smart Power Fab in Dresden, Germany, for analog/mixed-signal and power semiconductors.
One key area where Infineon hopes to benefit from the acquisition is automotive, where the company has been investing in developing onboard charging technologies for electric vehicles. The company demonstrated a SiC-based drive module for the main inverter of the Genesis GV60 electric vehicle at the electronica show in Munich last November.
“GaN technology is paving the way for more energy-efficient and CO 2-saving solutions that support decarbonization. Adoption in applications like mobile charging, data center power supplies, residential solar inverters, and onboard chargers for electric vehicles is at the tipping point, leading to a dynamic market growth,” said Jochen Hanebeck, CEO of Infineon, in a statement. “The planned acquisition of GaN Systems will significantly accelerate our GaN roadmap, based on unmatched R&D resources, application understanding and customer project pipeline.
Spencer Chin is a Senior Editor for Design News covering the electronics beat. He has many years of experience covering developments in components, semiconductors, subsystems, power, and other facets of electronics from both a business/supply-chain and technology perspective. He can be reached at [email protected]