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On Semi buys Fairchild for $2.4bn; Cmosis acquired by Ams for €220m

Two major image sensor companies have made acquisitions in separate agreements announced within days of each other.

On Semiconductor has bought Fairchild Semiconductor International in a deal valued at approximately $2.4 billion, while Ams, an Austrian-based sensor company, has purchased Cmosis for €220 million.

On Semiconductor and Fairchild will have combined revenue of approximately $5 billion, according to the companies. The addition of Fairchild will bolster On Semiconductor’s line of semiconductor products for automotive, industrial and smartphone end markets.

The deal follows On Semiconductor acquiring Aptina for $400 million and Truesense Imaging for $92 million in 2014.

Meanwhile, Ams will purchase 100 per cent of Cmosis shares from TA Associates, a private equity firm that acquired Cmosis in 2013.

The transaction is expected to close within the next six weeks subject to regulatory approvals and conditions. Cmosis will operate as a business line within Ams.

Dr Lou Hermans, COO of Cmosis, told Imaging and Machine Vision Europe that being part of Ams strengthens its position with semiconductor foundries. ‘One of the challenges of a relatively small fabless company is access to wafer fabs,’ he said. ‘If you’re part of a bigger organisation that also purchases wafers from foundries, maybe not for image sensors but for other types of device, it strengthens our position with respect to these foundries.’

Ams employs 1,800 people globally and serves more than 8,000 customers worldwide. ‘This transaction extends our market leadership in optical sensors and will strengthen our position as the leading pure-play sensor solutions provider for growth markets including Industry 4.0, Internet of Things and medical diagnostics,’ Kirk Laney, CEO of Ams, commented in a statement.

‘Integrating cameras with advanced optical sensors will drive new sensor solutions across vertical markets and accelerate our growth plans as we combine Cmosis’ leading edge IP and design capabilities with our manufacturing competence and optical sensor strengths,’ Laney added.

Founded in 2007, Cmosis operates as a fabless supplier of high performance standard and custom area and line scan CMOS image sensors. It has headquarters in Antwerp, Belgium and 110 employees. The company expects to generate full year 2015 revenues of approximately €60 million, with continued year-on-year revenue growth expected in 2016.

Hermans said that Cmosis will look into using Ams fabs and technology. ‘There are definitely some new products which could be developed in the Ams fabs,’ he remarked, ‘but for the existing products we will continue to use the suppliers which we are using now.’

He added: ‘The two companies have similar customers; there’s a nice synergy on the customer side. We can also offer complementary products for Ams customers.’

Cmosis’s sensor portfolio features low noise, global and rolling shutter, high dynamic range, and high frame rates through high-speed on-chip analogue-to-digital conversion and digital interfaces.

The image sensors serve a broad range of high-end applications in machine vision, medical, broadcast, traffic, scientific and photographic imaging. The company’s NanEye miniature camera line for endoscopes has also recently won the German Innovation Award for Non-Clinical Intensive Care. This is technology the company has developed after purchasing it from Awaiba in 2014.

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