Infineon to acquire Wolfspeed for SiC power and GaN RF technologies

July 15, 2016 // By Graham Prophet
Infineon has announced that it intends to buy the Wolfspeed Power and RF division (“Wolfspeed”) of Cree. The deal also includes the related SiC wafer substrate business for power and RF power. The purchase price for this planned all-cash transaction is $850 million (approximately €740 million).

Infineon says that the acquisition will “further strengthen” its position as a supplier of power and radio-frequency (RF) power solutions in high-growth markets such as electro-mobility, renewables and next-generation cellular infrastructure relevant for the Internet of Things (IoT).

 

The acquisition, Infineon adds, enables Infineon to provide, “ the most compelling power solutions with the broadest offering in compound semiconductors including silicon carbide (SiC), gallium nitride on silicon (GaN-on-Si), and gallium nitride on silicon carbide (GaN-on-SiC).”

 

Infineon previously purchased International Rectifier, a deal which also brought with it alternatives to silicon in power devices; some of the first commercial introductions of gallium nitride, in the power space, were by IR. Infineon has taken a cautious approach to GaN, with its public statements on the technology noting the continuing improvements in silicon switches, and identifying specific market segments where GaN is likely to make major inroads, such as high-density power conversion and distribution in server farms. Infineon already has its own product lines in SiC (“CoolSiC”) in diodes, transistors and in power modules – as does its new acquisition Wolfspeed. See, for example, “ 1200V, 325A silicon carbide module... ”.

Dr. Reinhard Ploss, CEO of Infineon Technologies AG, said: “...Wolfspeed’s and Infineon’s businesses and expertise are highly complementary, bringing together industry leading experts for compound semiconductors.... With Wolfspeed we will become number one in SiC-based power semiconductors. We also want to become number one in RF power.”

 

Infineon’s statemen continues, “Wolfspeed is based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA, and has been a part of Cree for almost three decades. Wolfspeed is a premier provider of SiC-based power and GaN-on-SiC-based RF power solutions. This also includes the related core competencies in wafer substrate manufacturing for SiC, as well as for SiC with a monocrystalline GaN layer for RF power applications. With these competencies, more than 550 highly skilled employees and a strong IP portfolio of approximately 2,000 patents