Semiconductor Value Chain

Cirrus Logic Buys Acoustic Tech

03 October 2013

In an effort to enhance its audio chip business, analog and digital signal processing component vendor Cirrus Logic Inc. has acquired privately held Acoustic Technologies Inc. for an undisclosed amount.

The deal gives Cirrus Logic embedded firmware voice processing IP, specifically noise reduction, echo cancelation and voice enhancement technologies, which are targeted toward a variety of voice communication enabled products, including smartphones, GPS, headsets, portable speakerphones, car speakerphones and car audio end products. It also adds approximately 30 employees, mostly engineers, to Cirrus Logic's audio division.

"While audio is Cirrus Logic's core competency, we believe this acquisition would be considered a tuck-in for Cirrus, intended to enhance its in-house expertise and to accelerate its penetration into more of the voice-type of applications," according to Tore Svanberg, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus in San Francisco.

The proprietary chip maker has been focused on expanding its portable audio products for smartphone and automotive applications, which require sophisticated analog and DSP functions for better audio and voice capabilities. It recently rolled out a low power, four-channel microphone A/D converter line which was designed to enhance voice processing features such as noise suppression, acoustic echo cancellation and multi-channel beam forming in smart phones.

While Cirrus had the expertise to integrate these functions on its DSPs, the company couldn't run them on its software or IP—but the Acoustic deal gives it that capability, Svanberg said.

In its first fiscal quarter 2014 ended June, Cirrus company posted a 25 percent sequential decline in revenue of $155.1 million, which it attributed to its portable audio business. Still, sales climbed 57 percent year over year, and Cirrus Logic believes that there are opportunities to continue to add more value to mobile phones. To achieve a higher level of signal processing capabilities for these applications, as well as yield smaller and lower-power devices, the company recently shifted its manufacturing efforts to 55-nanometer.

Cirrus expects to cap off its second fiscal 2014 quarter with revenue in the range of $170 million and $190 million.

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