The great silicon slurp of 2015 continues: Atmel next on the shopping block

Keeping 'persons close to the matter' busy

Another instalment in this year's consolidation in the silicon market appears to be on the cards, with reports emerging that microcontroller outfit Atmel is looking for a buyer.

As Reuters reports, the company's CEO, Steve Laub, is due to retire at the end of August, something that may have sparked the decision to seek acquisition.

The news-wire's anonymous sources say investment bank Qatalyst Partners has been engaged to consult on a possible acquisition for the US$4 billion outfit.

Atmel's portfolio includes microcontrollers such as ARM-based units for home appliances, touchscreen controllers for wearables like smart watches, and low-power WiFi devices for Internet of Things applications.

In March, the company was touting an ultra-low-power ARM Cortex-M microcontroller it reckoned would be able to run for “decades” between battery changes.

The last time there was a bid for Atmel, it was in the form of a hostile takeover attempt in 2008 by ON Semiconductor and Microchip Technologies, but the offer was withdrawn.

This time around, however, the speculation comes amid merger and acquisition activity like Broadcom/Avago and Intel/Altera, and hot interest from big vendors in staking out their territory in the Internet of Things. ®

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