Altera Acquires SoC Maker Enpirion

15 May 2013

FPGA maker Altera Corp., which hasn’t made an acquisition since 2010, has announced it will buy Enpirion Inc., a system-on-chip (SoC) vendor. The combination of Altera’s FPGAs with Enpirion’s PowerSoCs will offer customers higher performance, lower system power, higher reliability, smaller footprint and faster time-to-market, the companies said in a release.

“Power is increasingly a strategic choice for product differentiation in communications, computing and enterprise, and industrial applications,” said John Daane, president, CEO and chairman of Altera. “By adding a power group to Altera, we will bring even more value to system-level designs.”

Ashraf Lotfi, founder and CEO of Enpirion, will serve as an Altera Fellow and chief technologist for Altera’s newly formed Power business unit.

Altera is positioning itself in a market that is poised to grow, according to market research firm IHS. While both 2011 and 2012 were down years for power management semiconductors, the long-term outlook for the space appears solid, with 4 percent annual growth forecast during the next five years. Demand will be driven mainly by markets like wireless, communications, energy, new building and public infrastructure. The healthcare segment will also be of significance, including power management applications in medical electronics, diagnostics, monitoring and various human-aid products.

“Joining Altera will enhance the Enpirion team’s ability to solve tough power challenges,” said Lotfi. “Our leadership in high-efficiency power conversion solutions complements Altera’s leadership in FPGAs. Enpirion employees have built an innovative company, and we look forward to building upon this foundation with Altera.”

Many semiconductor companies acquire intellectual property (IP) and diversify their product offerings through mergers and acquisitions. However, Altera has been non-acquisitive for a few years. The company’s last purchase was Avalon Microelectronics in 2010.

Enpirion’s key enabling power technologies – high-frequency switching, magnetics and packaging – are engineered into complete power system-on-chip (SoC) products. Enpirion’s portfolio of DC-DC converter Power SoCs with integrated inductors enable the industry’s smallest solution footprints and are recognized for their high efficiency, low noise, thermal performance, high reliability and ease-of-use.

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