As chip giant Analog Devices (ADI) - Get Report turns to M&A to better compete in the semi universe by agreeing to pay nearly $15 billion for Linear Technology (LLTC) , investors are looking at which other chipmakerscould end up being acquired.
Analog Devices announced Tuesday afternoon that it has agreed to purchase Linear Technology for $14.8 billion, or $60 per share, in cash and stock. The combined entity will have about $5 billion in annual revenue and have an enterprise value of $30 billion.
Shares of Analog Devices were trading up around 1.4% Wednesday early afternoon to $63.78. Linear Tech was down 4% to $59.99, but the stock had shot up over 20% late Tuesday on the deal announcement.
"Now this is an important deal," said Jim Cramer, founder of TheStreet. "Why is it important? Because Analog, David Faber said, might have been in the sights of Texas Instruments (TXN) - Get Report , which had a monster quarter. This could have been a defensive deal. Linear is an industrial, Internet-of-things automobile play."
The tie-up will combine two strong analog product portfolios and cultures, MKM Partners analyst Ian Ing wrote in a Wednesday note, adding that joining the Analog Devices umbrella may re-energize Linear Tech that has somewhat lacked growth.
"We see abundant opportunities for the companies to share the best practices, especially in how to sell successfully in high-volume consumer ... and cost disciplines," Ing noted.
He further explained that the purchase price represents a range of about 26 times to 28 times EPS and isn't overly expensive especially given the $150 million in synergies the buyer is anticipating within 18 months of close.
Meanwhile, the Linear Technology takeout is the latest deal in the semi world that has been rapidly consolidating against the sector's backdrop of slowing revenue growth and relatively low cost of capital.
Among the largest transactions last year were NXP Semiconductors' (NXPI) - Get Report $16.7 billion acquisition of Freescale Semiconductor and Intel's (INTC) - Get Report $15.7 billion purchase of Altera. Avago Technologies bought Broadcom for $37 billion and then took the name of the target as Broadcom (AVGO) - Get Report .
Within the semi universe, analog remains especially ripe for more M&A because analog products are more homogeneous by nature. Analog is a chip segment focused on power management that targets broad industries such as automotive and industrial.
Following the Linear Tech-Analog tie-up, there remain plenty of players in the fragmented analog market that could next receive the spotlight, including Silicon Laboratories (SLAB) - Get Report , Semtech (SMTC) - Get Report , Maxim Integrated Products (MXIM) - Get Report and Intersil (ISIL) , according to analysts.
Silicon Labs and Semtech continue to look appealing thanks to their strong product portfolios, said Drexel Hamilton analyst Cody Acree via phone, adding that Intersil is also among the next likely takeout candidates in the market.
According to Tore Svanberg, an analyst at Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., Maxim Integrated Products could get the most attention following the Analog-Linear Tech transaction. Analog Devices is currently the fifth-largest analog chipmaker in the world by market share, while Linear Tech is the ninth-largest.
With Analog Devices and Linear Tech hooking up, Maxim now becomes the one company in the top 10 that is smaller and still on its own, Svanberg added.
"This is just another example of consolidation that the industry is seeing," Svanberg said.