News Article

TriQuint Swoops For Peak Devices In $15m Deal

More consolidation in the RFIC sector, as TriQuint Semiconductor expands its product portfolio and acquires a wide-bandwidth chip technology that could greatly simplify power amplification in wireless networks.

Oregon s TriQuint Semiconductor is set to acquire the fabless RF transistor supplier Peak Devices for $15 million in cash.

Based in Boulder, Colorado, Peak currently has just sixteen employees, ten of whom are experienced RF engineers, and registered sales of $2.6 million in the first half of 2007.

Peak designs and sells a variety of silicon-based RF semiconductors for applications in broadcasting, wireless networks and defense. Its product lines include transistors previously supplied by Agere Systems, Infineon and Avnet.

While those sales will add immediately to TriQuint s revenue, and also help to top up profits, TriQuint CEO Ralph Quinsey placed more emphasis on a proprietary semiconductor technology that Peak s engineers have developed more recently.

Called "WiMOS", this wide-bandwidth design is said to allow a single power amplifier device to operate over five octaves, including the 700 MHz-2.8 GHz range in which most wireless networks operate.

While Peak claims that the approach has been developed with a silicon material platform in mind, Quinsey says that it can also be incorporated into the GaAs and GaN designs that TriQuint has pioneered.

"To replace multiple amplifiers, optimized for various frequency bands and modulation schemes, with a single device has long been a goal of our industry," said Quinsey. "This is a technology that can enable the software-designed radio."

Peak is not yet selling WiMOS on a commercial basis, although the technology is said to have been demonstrated for potential customers.

Once the acquisition is finalized, TriQuint will complete the commercialization of WiMOS, with Quinsey expecting the technology to generate meaningful revenues in 2008.

Initial applications are likely to be in military and wireless infrastructure, although WiMOS also has potential to be used in future handset designs, added the CEO.

Bill McCalpin, currently the CEO of Peak Devices, will remain in charge of the division following the acquisition.

Founded back in 2000, Peak has until recently concentrated on providing customers with RF transistors that were made obsolete by their original suppliers, or by providing an alternative to discontinued lines.

In 2004, it acquired part of Infineon Technologies RF module division, as well as intellectual property and inventory belonging to Avnet.

The following year, it repeated the trick with Agere Systems high-power RF LDMOS transistor technology, and extended the Infineon connection by acquiring the German company s bipolar transistor product line.

And when Cree decided to discontinue its LDMOS RF transistors, Peak said that it would provide a viable alternative that could be used as a drop-in replacement.

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