Texas Instruments closes the acquisition of National Semiconductor

Sept. 27, 2011
National Semiconductor will be integrated as a unit of Texas Instruments' analog business and the combination establishes a clear leader in the LED-driver-IC segment.

Texas Instruments (TI) just completed the acquisition of National Semiconductor that was initially announced back in April. The combined analog IC operations will impact many markets but none more so than LED-based solid-state lighting (SSL), where both companies are dominant players.

"National is now a strategic part of TI's analog growth engine," said Rich Templeton, TI's Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. "Together, we're focused on accelerating semiconductor innovation to improve performance and power efficiency for our customers' electronic systems."

Analysts differ on the market positions that TI and National Semiconductor have occupied in the LED driver business with different analysts categorizing products in different ways. Back in April when the acquisition was announced IMS had placed the firms as number 1 and 2 in drivers and said the combined company would be 4 times larger than its nearest competitor in the SSL segment.

Clear-cut SSL driver market leader

Strategies Unlimited, a sister business to LEDs Magazine, did not rank the duo at the top of the driver market in terms of market share, but does project the combined company as the clear number 1. Tom Hausken, director of the components practice, said that post merger, TI would have around 15% of the business in the driver segment.

Since the April announcement, the companies have insisted that their analog product lines are more complementary than competitive. TI has reemphasized that message and created a web page entitled TI and National Semiconductor delivering more together to illustrate the point.

The web page provides a series of examples where TI and National Semiconductor ICs can be used together. One is a high-bay SSL application in which a TI IC handles the AC/DC power conversion and a National Semiconductor IC handles the DC/DC LED driver (see nearby image).

Without question, TI's strengths have lied in a digital approach to analog problems such as in digitally-controlled power supplies. In contrast, National Semiconductor has focused more on the traditional analog approach. Still there will be overlap in many markets including SSL.

With the acquisition closed, more than 5000 National Semiconductor employees now work for TI. TI said it will continue operating National Semiconductor fabs in Maine, Scotland, and Malaysia.

The new TI will realize more than 50% of its revenue from the analog segment. And the company will include National's financial performance as part of third-quarter earnings due out October 24.

Only time will tell how smoothly the integration goes, but of course TI is optimistic. Templeton said, "The closing of this transaction allows TI to expand its market presence with more leading-edge analog products, greater manufacturing capacity, and the largest sales and applications team in the industry. Together, we will serve more customers in more markets."