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Synaptics acquires Amazon-supplier Conexant for US$300m

PUBLISHED : June 13, 2017 - 11:53

UPDATED : June 13, 2017 - 14:05

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[THE INVESTOR] Synaptics, a leading fingerprint technology firm, said on June 13 that it has signed a deal to acquire Conexant Systems, a developer that provides voice recognition solutions to Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa, for US$300 million in a cash and stock deal.

The Investor first reported on the planned acquisition in April.

The latest deal comes at a time when the US biometric firm struggles to find a breakthrough after reduced orders from key clients Samsung and Apple for products such as fingerprint sensors and display driver integrated circuits. 




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[EXCLUSIVE]
Synaptics seeks to acquire Amazon-supplier Conexant


“At Synaptics, we have a knack for bringing the right technologies to the right growth markets, and adding voice and video processing solutions to our portfolio blends perfectly into the company’s innovative technology product mix,” Synaptics CEO Rick Bergman said in a press release.

California-based Conexant was owned by billionaire investor George Soros’s QP SFM Capital Holdings. Its main product is the video and audio processing chip. For Alexa, one of the market’s leading AI assistant systems, the company supplies far-field voice recognition technology.

Synaptics was catapulted into the limelight after it beat Apple in acquiring Renesas SP Drivers, a Japan-based DDIC producer for LCDs, for US$475 million in 2014.

Renasas was then the sole supplier of display driver integrated circuits for Apple’s iPhones, but as of 2015, the US smartphone maker has been diversifying its chip suppliers.

Apple’s move to adopt OLED displays for the next iPhones is expected to further undermine the bottom line of Synaptics.

Synaptics’ profits from fingerprint sensors has been slowing in recent years as Samsung, one of its key clients, has started to use its own fingerprint sensors for the latest flagship Galaxy S8, in addition to securing chips from other chipmakers including Taiwan’s Egis Technology for the mid-range Galaxy A.

Along with the deal with Connexant, Synaptics also announced on the same day the signing of a US$95-million takeover of the multimedia solutions business of Marvell Technology Group, an advanced processing technology developer for video and audio applications.

Both the acquisition deals will be closed in the third quarter, according to Synaptics.

By Kim Young-won (wone0102@heraldcorp.com)

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