Cirrus Logic, the Texas-based high-precision, analog and mixed-signal integrated circuit specialists, has agreed a £278 ($467) million acquisition of Edinburgh-based Wolfson Microelectronics, known for its high-performance, mixed-signal semiconductor devices and audio solutions for the consumer electronics market.
If approved, the transaction would allow Cirrus Logic to expand its customer base with differentiated, end-to-end audio solutions for portable audio applications. The transaction will be financed by a combination of existing cash on Cirrus Logic’s balance sheet and $225 million in debt funding.
Shares in Wolfson jumped by more than 50 per cent following the announcement.
“Wolfson has a rich history of audio innovation, a broad catalog of audio products and a first-class customer list,” said Jason Rhode, Cirrus Logic President and Chief Executive Officer. “This acquisition strengthens Cirrus Logic’s core business as a leader in audio signal processing components, enhances our ability to differentiate our products with software, and adds new product categories such as MEMS microphones to our portfolio.”
“The Board of Wolfson believes that this is an attractive offer for Wolfson shareholders,” said Michael Ruettger, Chairman of the Board of Wolfson Microelectronics. “We believe this reflects the hard work that Mike Hickey and his team have put into building Wolfson as a leader in the supply of high performance Audio Hubs and MEMS microphones to the consumer electronics market. Together with Cirrus Logic, we believe this will create a powerful platform for future growth, above and beyond our standalone potential.”
The acquisition is expected to be completed in the second half of 2014. Cirrus Logic’s analog and signal-processing patent portfolio and ICs are used in a variety of audio and energy-related applications. Cirrus was founded in 1984 and posted sales of £425 million last year.
Wolfson technology can be found inside many of the world’s leading digital consumer goods, such as audiophile hi-fi equipment (customers include Linn and Astell&Kern), smartphones (including Samsung’s Galaxy models), mobile phones, tablet computers, MP3 players, televisions, digital still cameras and gaming devices. Wolfson Microelectronics was spun out from the University of Edinburgh in 1984 and floated on the London Stock Exchange in 2003.
In a recent announcement that underscored the broad deployment of its technology, Wolfson presented its high-definition Audio Card for Raspberry Pi computers. The card brings both line-in, line-out headphone and headset support, on-board stereo microphones and digital audio S/PDIF functionality to the Raspberry Pi for the first time.
At the heart of the Wolfson Audio Card is the WM5102 chip, a highly-integrated Audio Hub also found in many smartphones, tablets and other portable audio devices today. This enables 24-bit/96KHz high-resolution audio recording and playback. The Audio Card also includes Wolfson’s WM8804 high-performance consumer mode S/PDIF digital interface transceiver and dual WM7220 Wolfson digital MEMS microphones for high-quality audio capture and record.