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M&A activity continues, but does a change beckon?

The news that Renesas Electronics is to buy Dialog Semiconductor for $5.9 billion, follows a series of acquisitions by Renesas in recent years.

In 2017/18 the Japanese chip-maker bought Integrated Device Technology and Intersil as it looked to increase its share of the market for analogue chips beyond the automotive space. In the case of Dialog, it's a specialist supplier of power-management chips and low-energy Bluetooth products.

“This transaction represents our next important step in catapulting Renesas’ growth plan,” said Hidetoshi Shibata, President and CEO of Renesas.

While this can be seen as a continuation of the trend seen last year where the volume of deals involving semiconductor companies more than doubled to $144 billion, it could also suggest that the type of M&A activity might be changing.

Research from McKinsey found that the mega-deals, typified by Nvidia’s bid for Arm last year, may become less popular post Covid-19. It suggests that while companies will be looking to make further acquisitions it’s likely they will undertake what is described as programmatic M&A – i.e the pursuit of more modest sized deals.

It’s likely to be a more productive approach, especially at a time when governments are likely to be taking a stricter approach when it comes to foreign investment.

Neil Tyler

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