Home5GSTMicro scores takeover ‘hat-trick’ with deal for IoT and 5G specialist SOMOS

STMicro scores takeover ‘hat-trick’ with deal for IoT and 5G specialist SOMOS

STMicroelectronics (STMicro) has followed up the summer purchases of France-based ultra-wideband (UWB) specialist BeSpoon and Canada-based cellular IoT connectivity firm Riot Micro with a deal for cellular IoT and 5G chipmaker SOMOS Semiconductor.

The Franco-Italian firm said the acquisition strengthens its product portfolio, intellectual property, and in-house know-how around front-end modules (FEMs) for the IoT and 5G markets. The terms of the transaction, including the purchase fee, were not disclosed.

SOMOS, founded in 2018 and based in Marly-le-Roy in France, specializes in silicon-based power amplifiers and radio-frequency FEM products. STMicro said the acquisition will help it to develop and offer new stand-alone solutions, as well as to augment its existing STM32-based portfolio.

It said a first NB-IoT / LTE-M based product is already undergoing qualification, and will lead a new family of FEM products, for both the IoT and 5G sectors.

Claude Dardanne, president of microcontrollers and integrated chips at STMicro, said: “Consumers and Industry expect more and better connectivity solutions. We are committed to offering and enabling solutions to address these needs and challenges. Cellular IoT and 5G infrastructure technologies are key in that perspective. With this acquisition, we reinforce our ambition to play a major role in RF FEM for a buoyant connectivity IoT market and we strengthen our roadmap of RF Front-End for the 5G markets.”

STMicro, which sells to Apple and Tesla, among its headline contracts, said it expects strong demand from both the mobile phone and car markets to boost sales in the fourth quarter, and into 2021, as it braces for a loss from Huawei, following sanction against the firm, starting in the US.

Jean-Marc Chery, chief executive at STMicro, said on an earnings call: “After thirty quarters of consecutive revenue growth with Huawei, ST’s revenue from Huawei in Q4 will be zero.”

The Geneva-based firm said revenues in the third quarter were $2.67 billion on a gross margin of 36 percent, and $6.98 billion in the year to date, on about the same margin (36.3 percent). Net income was $242 million in the quarter and $525 million in the year. The company expects revenue growth of about 12 percent for the rest of 2020, and margin to rise to 38.5 percent.

In July, the company signed a deal to purchase UWB chip firm BeSpoon and cellular IoT firm Riot Micro. The deals will strengthen STMicro’s wireless connectivity portfolio, notably its STM32 family of micro-controllers, the company said.

STMicro already offers Bluetooth and IEEE 802.15.4 based products, as well as “the world’s first” LoRa-enabled system-on-chip (SoC). Claude Dardanne, president of microcontrollers and digital integrated circuits at STMicro, said: “Cellular IoT and UWB are key wireless connectivity solutions that will enable a next wave of IoT connected objects and innovative applications.”

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