ON-Fairchild union: A match made in heaven?

Article By : Steve Taranovich

Bringing together two established industry leaders, ON Semiconductor’s acquisition of Fairchild Semiconductor creates one extraordinary company.

In this industry climate of big acquisitions, especially in the power management segment of our industry, ON Semi has made their move to be a stronger power semiconductor leader by acquiring struggling Fairchild Semi and raising their annual combined revenue to $5 billion.

Slowing demand had hurt Fairchild revenue growth as it also did the same for other IC manufacturers; however, Fairchild never seemed to produce the industry-shaking solutions they promised a few years ago when they re-structured their company. Their July 2016 GreenBridge II offering in the PoE arena was a nice exception. I do think that the combined resources of these two companies under a stronger engineering management and marketing direction will enhance their place in the power industry.

Bringing together two established industry leaders, ON Semiconductor’s acquisition of Fairchild Semiconductor creates one extraordinary company, and a new global Top 10 non-memory semiconductor supplier.

The Infineon acquisition of International Rectifier last year formed a bigger threat to ON Semiconductor so ON Semi had to make a move to broaden their product portfolio breadth in power semiconductors. Now On Semi has their own 650V GaN power ICs and gains Fairchild’s 1,200V SiC devices—a match made in heaven.

Another outcome that I like is that China’s Tsinghua Unigroup will not be able to acquire Fairchild.

Merging ON Semi’s portfolio of low-voltage products joined with Fairchild’s extensive range of medium- and high-voltage products moves the combined company into a vastly improved position in the Power Management market.

The result?
A company that can provide its customers with the widest possible choice of power discretes, ICs, modules and solutions across the whole voltage spectrum. At the same time, the acquisition brings a significant strengthening of application-specific technologies.

In the automotive sector, for instance, the combined companies can leverage over 50 years of automotive semiconductor experience to provide more complete solutions in all areas of automotive electronics, including technologies for autonomous vehicles and vehicle electrification.

With the growing industry in vehicle electronics, Fairchild’s automotive qualified 650V Super Junction MOSFETS and Si/SiC rectifiers and FETs, gate drivers and high voltage modules will give ON Semi a big boost in this market in the on-board chargers and main power drive as well as high voltage loads. Plus Fairchild’s 80/100 V FETs and high speed half bridge drivers will enhance their position in 12V 48V DC/DC in the automobile.

In industrial applications, ON Semiconductor’s expertise in power solutions and motor drivers is combined with Fairchild’s strength in intelligent power modules will greatly expand their offerings to designers for a more complete solution in designs.

Motor control in the industrial arena will be better served by this acquisition due to Fairchild’s Motor Power Modules, SiC power devices, power discretes and Opto gate drivers.

The combined companies will also have a broader portfolio to serve the mobile and data management market. Designers of wireless and wearable devices will benefit from the fact that the combined company with Fairchild’s strong power adapter solutions, especially in fast-charging AC/DC applications with multiple industry protocols supported will be a huge boost to ON Semi’s market breadth.

Fairchild’s 8in wafer fab will also help improve overall costs of manufacture.

I look forward to seeing some good solutions coming out of the combined company in the very near future.

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