Analog Devices Inc. (Nasdaq: ADI) agreed to acquire Linear Technology Corp. (Nasdaq: LLTC) for about $14.8 billion, potentially restarting a scramble by chipmakers to add scale amid record industry consolidation. For example, Microsemi purchased PMC- Sierra Inc. and Mellanox Technologies (Nasdaq: MLNX) bought EZchip.
Analog will pay $60 a share for rival Linear, in cash and stock -- a premium of 24 percent to its closing price on July 25 -- the two companies said in a statement.
Shares in Linear rose as much as 33 percent earlier in New York trading after people familiar with the matter said the two companies were in advanced talks about a deal. They were halted at $62.49, valuing the company at about $14.9 billion. Analog Devices rose as much as 6 percent and was halted at $62.87, valuing it at about $19.3 billion.
Analog Devices, based in Norwood, Massachusetts, is one of the oldest companies in the industry. It specializes in data converters and chips that translate real world things -- such as a button press or sound -- into electronic signals.
Analog Devices and other makers of analog chips are looking to add scale to close the gap with industry leader Texas Instruments Inc., the biggest maker of the semiconductors that perform basic tasks in electronics. By buying out a rival, National Semiconductor Corp., and updating production, Texas Instruments says it has cheaper manufacturing and more product offerings than any of its rivals. Its stock hit a record this year.
The benchmark Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index also jumped on the news, gaining as much as 4.3 percent.
Semiconductor companies merged at a record pace in 2015 to pool resources and get bigger in the face of a narrowing customer base and increasing costs. Deals worth more than $100 billion were announced, including Avago Technologies Ltd.’s $37 billion acquisition of rival Broadcom Corp.
--Additional reporting by Ian King.