Linear Technology to be bought by ADI for $14.8 billion; no word on layoffs

Linear Technology is getting acquired by Analog Devices for $14.8 billion, and as of now, there is no word on what impact the deal will have on the 1,274 employees that work at the company’s Milpitas headquarters.

A Linear spokesman said the company had no information to give about whether the acquisition would result in redundancies, or possible layoffs. Linear employs 4,922 people worldwide. Linear and Analog Devices, commonly known as ADI, expect the acquisition to close in the first half of 2017.

ADI Chief Executive Vincent Roche will become CEO of the combined company, which will keep the Linear brand for its power-management chip products. There is no word, yet, on what role, if any Linear CEO and co-founder Bob Swanson will have once the deal is completed.

The tie-up between Linear and ADI will create an analog chipmaker seen as a potential rival to Texas Instruments. Both companies specialize in analog chips that are used to convert audio and video into digital formats which are found in many consumer electronics devices such as smartphones. Linear’s main products are used in power management, while ADI is best known for its work in chip amplifiers and converters.

“The market for analog semiconductors is fragmented,” said William Stein, an analyst with SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, in a research note. “We estimate that the combined company would have mid-teens market share in analog, solidly below Texas Instruments. We believe each company’s strengths complement the other’s weakness.”

Investors weren’t so sure about the deal, which pegs Linear’s value at $60 a share, or more than 23 percent higher than Linear’s Monday closing price of $48.71 a share. On Wednesday, Linear Technology saw its shares slump by more than 4 percent, one day after the company agreed to be acquired by ADI, of Norwood, Massachusetts.

ADI shares, however, rose 1.2 percent to $63.63. The company counts Apple as one of its top customers, but with Apple’s iPhone sales in decline, ADI will likely use Linear to help it branch out into other business areas.

The size of the deal also signals that the appetite for consolidation in the semiconductor sector remains unsatiated.

“A realization that the semiconductor industry is no longer a growth industry has slowly been spurring a host of reactions among semiconductor companies,” Stein said.

Just last week, Japanese tech giant SoftBank group said it would acquire ARM Holdings, a chip-design leader, for $32 billion. Last year, Avago Technologies reached a $37 billion deal to buy communications chipmaker Broadcom.

Photo: A semiconductor motherboard. (Bay Area News Group archives)

 

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