Mergers and Acquisitions: Dialog Buys Atmel

Dialog Semiconductor has announced their acquisition of Atmel for $4.6 Billion.

In recent years, semiconductor companies have been flush with cash, and this inevitably means consolidation. NXP and Freescale merged in March. In June, Intel bought Altera for $16.7 Billion just a week after Avago bought Broadcom in the largest semiconductor deal ever – $37 Billion.

The deal between Dialog and Atmel is not very big; the combined revenue of both companies should be $2.7 Billion, not even in the top-20 semiconductor companies by revenue. However, Atmel is an extremely big player in the Internet of Things and the nebulous ‘maker’ market. Dialog’s portfolio is complementary to Atmel’s, focusing on mobile platforms such as smartphones, e-readers, and tablets. The future is in the Internet of Things, and Dialog wants to get in on the ground floor.

Dialog’s current portfolio is focused mainly on mobile devices, with Bluetooth wearables-on-a-chip, CODEC chips for smartphones, and power management ICs for every type of portable electronics. Atmel’s portfolio is well-established in automotive, smart energy metering, and the maker movement. While the Arduino may be Atmel’s most visible contribution to the industry, the Arduino itself is just a fraction of Atmel’s sales in this space. Atmel parts can already be found Internet of Things products like the LightBlue Bean (an 8-bit AVR), and the Tessel 2 Internet of Things board (a 32-bit Atmel ARM).

Curiously, neither Dialog nor Atmel have many sensor or MEMS products, and the future of wearables, portable electronics, and the Internet of Things will depend on these sensors. STMicroelectronic produces both the microcontrollers and sensors that are packed into phones. TI is nearly a full-stack hardware company, able to produce everything that will go into a wearable or Internet of Things device, all the way from the power regulator to the microcontroller. Although this may be seen as a shortcoming for Dialog and Atmel, both companies combined are still many times smaller than the likes of Avago/Broadcom or NXP/Freescale there’s plenty of room for more acquisitions to round out their future needs.

As for what changes will come to Dialog and Atmel’s portfolio, don’t expect much. Unlike the NXP and Freescale merger where both companies have a lot products that do pretty much the same thing, the portfolios of Dialog and Atmel build on each other’s strengths. You’ll have your 8-bit AVRs for a few more decades, and with Dialog’s focus on connectivity, we can expect even more tools for building the Internet of Things.

43 thoughts on “Mergers and Acquisitions: Dialog Buys Atmel

      1. Let’s put the potential positive spin(s) on it. Dialog may want atmel precisely for the fab side of things. Or alternatively they want to massively licence atmel architectures, so even cheaper atmel!

  1. “Dialog’s portfolio is complimentary to Atmel’s”
    I think you mean ‘complementary’, as in completing a set or filling a need, rather than ‘complimentary’ meaning praising or approving.

  2. May I suggest splitting the Hackaday blog into 2 (or more) sections. More and more of what’s posted on Hackaday is not hacking, it’s news, promos, editorials and instuctional posts (ok, I like the instructional posts). I come to Hackaday for hacks. Other stuff just gets in the way.

      1. Tags might work if there was a “Hacks” tag, but there isn’t just one. There’s “SW Hacks”, “Clock Hacks”, “Arduino Hacks” etc.

        When the site was re-designed a few months ago, I thought (and I think we were told) that the “Blog” section would be the same Hackaday we’ve loved for years and all the other stuff would be featured on the “Home” page.

          1. As they stated when they went corporate….. They need to generate a lot more posts round the clock in order to generate more advertising revenue, even if this means that in effect they are making lower quality posts in general instead of focusing on quality content.

            I refer to McDonald’s dollar cheeseburger as reference to this concept.

    1. You can start by taking responsibility for the media you consume.

      News, op-eds, editorials, and blatant manipulation of your sensitive proclivities generate far more views than ‘hacks’. If you want hacks, read them. We’re actually looking for referral traffic now, so repost them to reddit and HN.

      Until then, I wash my hands of your editorial suggestions and posit the problem lies with you.

      1. Seriously?

        While we’re at it, mind implementing some proof-reading policies for HaD content? It’s pretty rare to see a post without blatant spelling, grammatical and even factual errors.

      2. Unfortunately, I have to agree. I have noticed many articles which appeared to me to be worthy hacks which generated little or no comment activity while things which seemed trivial and not at all “hackish” generate far more comments, for better or worse. We have ourselves to blame may just be closer to the truth. That said, better editorial oversight would be appreciated.

        1. I wonder what counts as a hack in anyone’s mind. I wonder if HAD notices my data. I wonder if using adblock precludes my browsing from counting as “customer” data.

          The laser cut delrin article on home right now isn’t a hack, but I like the tutorial information style and I wish more posts had it. Hacks with how-to are best. Bill and Elliot are great.

          The particle core one seemed like advertisement more than hack. A dollhouse? I don’t know what to expect out of OSHC (its like when someone talks and your brain muffles it, dunno why). I don’t have a Rigol scope. BttF golf cart might be interesting but I’m not pulled and there might not be schematic details. Etc.

          I like this one though because I work industry for living.

      3. No need to get flustered.

        I think the issue is Hackaday (the owners and people that make it happen) are there for the sake of Hackaday. Kind of a like how a government agency acts in its best interest. If the goal is to grow, they do whatever’s necessary.
        Myself and probably most other people started reading here for the hacks. That’s it.

        So, these two goals are largely incompatible. HAD wants to grow, readers want to see hacks. Sorry I can’t offer a solution.

      4. As if HaD’s actions have no effect on the community it builds….

        Brian – To further build a community of bait-clickers and hate commenters, in an effort to pay off the new management’s mortgages, you should try political editorials. Works for Fox News. They’re in a similar situation. It’s not Fox’s fault they maximize revenue with provocative editorials mascaraing as real news to manipulate emotional responses. They’re just a pawn to the system. We understand.

        Is there a HaD alternative, or is this script kitty sticker dispensing pretentious smug-fest the only game in town? Feels like a positive feedback “there can be only one” system where the most popular project website only gets more popular regardless of quality, while all others fade away… until they show their true colors. Kind of like the Ardraino and Markerbot….

        If there are hacking/project alternatives, it’s probably a good idea for the community to post them. I really only know of two others:
        http://hackedgadgets.com/
        http://dangerousprototypes.com/

        1. P.S. The poster isn’t even saying they want you to stop all the click/comment bait stuff. Just politely requesting that it’s easier to filter since the tag system is only as good as the author’s spelling, grammar and knowledge of technical subjects…..

    2. +1
      that is why I quit visiting MAKE. All their posts became about community, how to be a maker, how you started, and less about projects themselves. I ended up filtering the whole site out.

  3. No love for Microchip? I heard they have or will buy Micrel this year. Dunno when. I saw some Micrel people at their Masters conference this year is all. It also kinda looked like Microchip helped sponsor your Prize competition. Or am I imagining these things?

    Here’s a press thingy: http://www.microchip.com/pdf/Micrel_Acquisition_Press_Release.pdf

    Interesting how Microchip and Atmel were supposed to be competing. The first is buying and the second is selling. Micrel sounds like it cost less money though.

    I also heard that Microchip was considering buying Atmel sometime earlier but it didn’t work for some business reason. Sounds like more than a rumor. Here’s some more interesting bits, apparently was a hostile joint bid in 2008: http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/02/10/us-atmel-takeover-microchip-idUSTRE5197X120090210

    I wonder if anyone will have more juicy details about Atmel. I heard from one or two people that they were on the decline in recent years regardless of the Arduino deals.

  4. Well, Atmel’s CEO said they need to “broaden their horizons” (Dialog makes what they don’t; and now can be spared the cost of tooling up to compete). However, check out the last few days of Atmel stock. Their stockholders are punishing them hard. -20% valuation when I checked last. Ouch.
    Hope it works out for them. I loooooooooooooove my Atmel chips!

  5. I do like my 8-bit Atmel chips though I must admit I don’t have enough experience with the alternatives to really make any judgements. I also don’t like change just for the sake of change. I think it’s a waste of time and energy. But… to be still using 8-bit chips for a few more decades? If that happens then I think something went horribly wrong!

  6. “everything comes to an end, eventually.”

    “I see the darkness coming”

    maybe im just being pessimistic,
    but it just reminds me of the company recoton.
    i recently read up on how they kept concentrating on aquirring more companys, brand names, rights, licences, distribution centers ect and less effort to actually make or design stuff. they eventually bought a company that caused them to loose so much money cuz they bit off more then they could chew. bought maybe 100 companies, sales figures were HUGE buuut not big for a company owning like over 50 companies/brands/ect…

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