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The great silicon slurp of 2015 continues: Atmel next on the shopping block

Keeping 'persons close to the matter' busy

By Richard Chirgwin, 9 Jun 2015

Another instalment in this year's consolidation in the silicon market appears to be on the cards, with reports emerging that microcontroller outfit Atmel is looking for a buyer.

As Reuters reports, the company's CEO, Steve Laub, is due to retire at the end of August, something that may have sparked the decision to seek acquisition.

The news-wire's anonymous sources say investment bank Qatalyst Partners has been engaged to consult on a possible acquisition for the US$4 billion outfit.

Atmel's portfolio includes microcontrollers such as ARM-based units for home appliances, touchscreen controllers for wearables like smart watches, and low-power WiFi devices for Internet of Things applications.

In March, the company was touting an ultra-low-power ARM Cortex-M microcontroller it reckoned would be able to run for “decades” between battery changes.

The last time there was a bid for Atmel, it was in the form of a hostile takeover attempt in 2008 by ON Semiconductor and Microchip Technologies, but the offer was withdrawn.

This time around, however, the speculation comes amid merger and acquisition activity like Broadcom/Avago and Intel/Altera, and hot interest from big vendors in staking out their territory in the Internet of Things. ®

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