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Tables turned as Cree buys Infineon’s RF power business

Back in 2016, Infineon reached an agreement with Cree under which it would acquire its Wolfspeed division, which develops SiC, GaN and RF power devices. But the deal fell through when it became apparent that US regulators wouldn’t give their approval.

Now, the tables have been turned and Cree is buying Infineon’s RF power business for some €345million and will integrate it into its Wolfspeed operation.

And it appears to be down to a change in Cree’s management. Cree appointed ex Freescale boss Gregg Lowe as CEO in September 2016 and it looks like he’s changing things significantly.

While previous CEO Chuck Swoboda saw Cree’s future as ‘a more focused LED lighting company’, Lowe obviously disagrees, saying LED efforts need to be ‘focused’ and the lighting business ‘fixed’. Recently, he described the Wolfspeed operation as ‘a powerhouse’ and believes the business will be generate the most revenue of Cree’s business units in four years. The reason? Lowe sees ‘large opportunities’ for SiC and GaN power devices in electric vehicles, as well as industrial and other sectors.

In a presentation to financial analysts, he said he would ‘invest to expand scale and to accelerate growth’. What better way than to buy Infineon’s business?

Graham Pitcher

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