Skyworks to acquire smart interface company Avnera; adds differentiated analog/mixed signal audio, voice and speech processing engines

Skyworks Solutions Inc. announced Monday that it has signed a definitive agreement to purchase Avnera Corp., developer of Analog System on Chips (ASoCs). Acquisition of Avnera, a private fabless semiconductor supplier, augments Skyworks’ position in wireless connectivity by adding ultra-low power analog circuits to enable smart interfaces via acoustic signal processing, sensors and integrated software.

Upon consummation of the transaction, Skyworks will expand its addressable market by over US$5 billion. Target applications include AI speakers/microphones, virtual assistants, intelligent gaming controllers and vehicle in-dash systems as well as wired/wireless headsets.

Skyworks will pay $405 million in cash to Avnera equity holders at closing with up to an additional $20 million if certain performance targets are exceeded over a 12-month post-closing period.

The transaction has been approved by the boards of directors of both Skyworks and Avnera and is anticipated to close by September 2018, subject to customary closing conditions. Excluding any non-recurring acquisition-related charges and amortization of intangibles, Skyworks expects the acquisition to be immediately accretive to diluted earnings per share.

At the heart of Avnera’s system solutions are market-specific ASoCs that combine breakthrough audio/voice analog circuits, highly efficient power management and custom hardware accelerators for smart acoustic signal processing/AI features.

Avnera’s ASoCs achieve a high level of integration and set a new performance watermark from a power consumption and footprint standpoint, underpinned by over 100 issued and pending patents. Key Avnera customers include Harman, JBL, Panasonic, Philips, Pioneer, Polk, Samsung, Sennheiser, Sony, Vizio and Yamaha.

“Voice is increasingly becoming the primary interface for artificial intelligence and Internet of Things applications. Skyworks’ acquisition of Avnera will enable us to capitalize on the rapid proliferation of audio functionality and its convergence with our advanced connectivity solutions,” said Liam K. Griffin, president and chief executive officer of Skyworks. “With Skyworks’ global sales channels, strong customer relationships and operational scale, we plan to leverage Avnera’s innovative product portfolio and systems expertise to increase our footprint in automotive, industrial, home automation, enterprise and high-end consumer markets. In short, this transaction perfectly complements Skyworks’ product roadmap and will be highly synergistic across a broader customer set.”

“We are extremely excited to be joining forces with Skyworks to offer customers complete system solutions for next generation smart interface applications,” said Manpreet Khaira, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Avnera. “Both companies share a vision of enabling ubiquitous, always-on communications through highly customized designs. Together, we can develop, deliver and rapidly scale audio products with unprecedented integration and performance for the increasingly connected wireless world.”

Last week, Skyworks unveiled the latest solutions from its Sky5 line, its unifying platform enabling 5G applications. Skyworks’ wideband 16-state antenna aperture tuners are extremely compact and designed to deliver improved efficiency and enhanced bandwidth coverage ─ from 600 MHz to 6 GHz for LTE Advanced Pro to emerging 5G standards ─ across a range of mobile devices.

The SKY5−9256-701LF advanced aperture tuner features reliable linear operation and extremely low Ron (1.1ohm) and Coff (145fF) to deliver superior antenna performance, allowing system designers to recover the 1.5 to 3 dB gain degradation caused by shrinking antenna sizes. The MIPI-controlled, 16-state capability of the tuner also gives engineers the ability to combine arms for even smaller Ron and Coff. Excellent harmonics are delivered throughout the operating range, assisting customers with achieving RSE requirements and passing certification.

Antenna tuning plays a critical role in maintaining smartphone power efficiency and battery life, particularly as signal processing complexity continues to rise with the onset of 5G. With smartphone manufacturers adding new features such as 4×4 multiple-in, multiple-out (MIMO) and 5G new radio (NR) for 2019 applications, next generation architectures must embed significantly more antennas. New bezel-less smartphones integrate anywhere from four to seven antennas to support future data demand versus the two to four average antenna count within today’s platforms.

At the same time, the migration to full screen infinity displays and expanded functionality limit the amount of board space available. Skyworks’ innovative antenna tuning solutions leverage proprietary design and process techniques to help drive antenna performance while meeting stringent linearity demands and size constraints.

 


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