ON Semiconductor Acquires Fairchild

In the continuing process of semiconductor companies buying each other up, ON Semiconductor has acquired Fairchild Semiconductor for $2.4 Billion.

ON Semi and Fairchild’s deal is only the latest in a long line of mergers and acquisitions. We’ve recently seen Dialog’s buyout of Atmel, Avago’s purchase of Broadcom,  NXP and Freescale’s merger, and soon might see TI buy Maxim. We’re currently in the great time of acquisition, with nearly $100 Billion flowing from company to company in just a few months.

Companies have cash to spend and costs to cut. This latest deal is expected to save $150 Million in annual costs.

Fairchild has a long and storied history in the semiconductor industry, with the first integrated circuit produced in a Fairchild lab in Palo Alto. [Bob Widlar] made Fairchild his home until famously leaving for National Semiconductor in 1965. Somewhat ironically, Fairchild Semiconductor was bought by National Semiconductor in 1987.

ON Semiconductor’s history is not nearly as interesting, being spun off of Motorola’s semiconductor business in 1999. Although ON’s main line of business was discrete components, ON also has a catalog of quite a few power management ICs.

Unfortunately, because ON Semi bought Fairchild and not the other way around, we’re stuck with what is probably the worst logo in the entire semiconductor industry: drop-shadowed balls are so mid-90s!

24 thoughts on “ON Semiconductor Acquires Fairchild

    1. We still use some of the products they make, mostly discretes, like TVS diodes (where we need to have second and third source parts) and FETs, where they have some pretty advanced products we use in high efficiency power supply designs.

  1. I miss the ‘old days’ somewhat. I still have my brown tattered and torn Motorola 78M linear regulator databook. It was chock full of the good stuff. A complete explanation of how to properly design low power linear designs. It is only a little over a hundred pages, but it has a lot of good theory.

    Now, you are lucky if there is more than 4 pages to a datasheet and any more than a single app note.

    1. in the “good old days” motorola ran 3-4 engineering teams fighting and competing against each other. Something as simple as getting datasheets to inhouse products was a challenge. Just google around for the stories from radio vs cellular vs satellite divisions.

  2. Oh and what was at one time Motorola, ended up being chopped up, the microcontrollers went to freescale and OnSemi was all the analog stuff. One thing remains constant though, as soon as I design in an OnSemi part, lead times go out to 24 weeks…

  3. Won’t be long now before a specialized chip’s price will go from $0.10 to $680.- I guess.
    They are probably waiting for the signing of TTIP to make the move, when resistance will become futile.

    1. I mentioned this once before on HaD,
      Around 25 years ago, I had a defective Phillips O-scope. Budgets were tight and I had to decide between which of two $800+ chips to replace. I choose the wrong one…

  4. Fairchild Semiconductor is basically irrelevant in the grand scheme of the On Semiconductor manufacturing base. A cost burden to be eliminated. Fairchild Semiconductor, unfortunately, stop process development at the 350nm technology node at South Portland. The so-called Process Development Management had no clue or road map past a 350nm FEOL. We were to survive on the pitiful nano-margins of outdated products . We were stabbed in the back by the Fairchild Product Lines migration to TSMC 250nm technology. Senior Management, in their infinite wisdom, put together a rag-tag 200mm wafer line using marine plywood, bear grease and e-bay. At the end of the day, the Fairchild is making yesterday’s technology today and at unprofitable cost. Any process of worth [FS35 and FS50 5V] will be transferred to modern and more efficient On Semi Fabs in Gresham and Poctello. The sun will set on the Fairchild Semiconductor South Portland Fab very soon despite the blood, sweat and tears of the Fab workers and engineers.

    1. Maybe only the managers will be let go, and the place will be modernized or re re-purposed and a good number will have a job still. Possibly a better one with more benefits in the end even,who knows.
      I mean there is reason to streamline and cut some chaff, but you have to keep producing as a company else you are nothing, and it’s pointless to buy a company and then just kill everything from it, unless it’s competition, but you say it isn’t competition so that can’t be the thinking behind the purchase, you don’t buy a failing entity to get rid of it, you just wait a bit, or compete it away if you want to speed it up.

      At least that’s another way of looking at it, no idea about the actual situation really though, because sometimes business makes no real sense, even if it’s about millions.

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