Who to buy Fairchild?
According to media sources, Fairchild semiconductor is looking forward to be acquired. The company as commissioned Goldman Sachs to find a buyer. Among the companies interested: Infineon and ON Semiconductor. Infineon already acquired International Rectifier. It was officially signed in January 2015. They were world leader in the power semiconductor market and this move just made them leading even more. Acquiring Fairchild Semi would put them in a very strong position on the power semiconductor industry.
ON Semiconductor is more of a challenger. But they do have quite good technology assets, and acquiring Fairchild would be a good move. It would add Silicon Carbide to their portfolio (even though Fairchild’s devices are not MOSFETs but JFETs which is less standard), but also to their commercial and image strength. They already work on GaN (Gallium Nitride) technology in-house as well as on packaging side through a partnership with the Los Angeles area based (also called “GaN-beach”) Transphorm.
In conclusion, there are high strategic stakes in this deal, and the outcome will reshape the power semiconductor industry.
Fairchild: The semiconductor start-up creator
Historically, a group called “the Traitorous eight”, who left Shockley semiconductor lab to find shelter and founds at Gordon Fairchild’s company, founded the company. Shockley did hire them but due to a lack of management, these eight preferred to gather and make profit of their knowledge on their own. This was back in 1957.
The newly found company rapidly grows into a semiconductor heavy weight. As the company grew, employees left to found their own start-ups. These unofficial spin-offs have been known as “Fairchildren”.
Among today’s well known “Fairchildren”: Intel, AMD, National Semiconductor, Intersil, Exar…