LONDON Ė Mixed-signal, power and RF chip vendor Dialog Semiconductor plc is on the hunt for acquisitions, investment opportunities and whatever else is the best way to use its cash pile, which stood at $312 million as of the end of 2012.
Mark Tyndall, vice president of business development and corporate strategy at Dialog, said that the company took out a convertible loan for about $200 million a year ago with the intention of doing an acquisition, something "very complementary" to what the company does today, but things have not quite worked out as yet. "We've been looking at different targets over the last year," he told EE Times.
Sales revenue at Dialog (Kirchheim-unter-Teck, Germany) is growing strongly right now, particularly across its line of power management ICs (see Mobile drives Dialog profit higher), so identifying that "complementary" market leader or startup with a chance of success is intriguing.
When asked if it could be something in the memory area, such as memory controller for non-volatile memory, Tyndall said: "We don't sell commodity parts. Our expertise is in mixed-signal and particularly for portable platforms." Tyndall agreed an IP company that has developed market-leading core or family of cores in an adjacent market place could be attractive.
But Tyndall said that in the most of the markets where it already plays the company already has the leading cores. Besides this he said Dialog's three strengths are: "The ability to integrate; packaging; and speed of execution."
Tyndall explained that the first is demonstrated by Dialog's ability to bring more mixed-signal cores together reliably than the competition. The second by the adoption of digital-style packages to accommodate large numbers of I/Os but applied to mixed-signal and power applications. The third is self-explanatory but is highly valued by customers.
Meanwhile the hunt for the complementary acquisition goes on. But sometimes strategic investment is a better use of the cash and Dialog is prepared to move into venture capital mode. "We invested in Arctic Sand at the end of last year. It is a spin-off from MIT with an interesting buck-boost dc-dc architecture and we do talk to a lot of startups."
Related links and articles:
MIT power management spin-off raises funds
Intel chooses Dialog PMIC for 'Bay Trail' processor
Former Freescale CEO takes Dialog director's seat