Intersil Buyout Highlights Chipmaker Consolidation; Here's Who Could Be Next

Interil (ISIL)   late Monday became the latest chipmaker to be taken out, underscoring an M&A landscape that still remains robust for semiconductor companies looking to boost growth.

"We think this deal could accelerate further analog consolidation to a few large players. We have written how small and mid-cap analog are increasingly attractive takeout targets," wrote MKM Partners analyst Ian Ing wrote in a Tuesday note.

Intersil has agreed to be acquired by Japan's Renesas Electronics for $3.2 billion, or $22.50 per share, in cash, the companies jointly announced late Monday. 

Shares of Intersil jumped up about 9.8% Tuesday morning to $21.70.

MKM's Ing highlighted Semtech (SMTC) , Monolithic Power (MPWR) and ON Semiconductor (ON) as interesting takeover targets, though industry sources say they are not the only ones to be in the sights of potential acquirers. 

Industry followers had previously said Semtech was starting to look appealing as an acquisition target in the backdrop of a consolidating sector thanks to its strong financial profile. Analog Devices (ADI) had been seen as a potential suitor for Semtech, but the chipmaker agreed to pay nearly $15 billion for Linear Technology (LLTC) in July and will likely be focused on integrating the acquisition in the short term.

Aside from the three, Silicon Laboratories (SLAB) has also been perceived to be an attractive takeover candidate for its larger peers including Qualcomm (QCOM) , Intel (INTC) and Skyworks Solutions (SWKS) .

Qualcomm has largely been left out of the intense consolidation wave that most of chipmakers have been busy with, and Intel is working to fully digest its $16.7 billion acquisition of Altera. Meanwhile, Skyworks Solutions abandoned its pursuit of PMC-Sierra last year by letting Microsemi (MSCC) pay $2.4 billion for the chipmaker. Industry observers said then that Skyworks had a number of M&A options it could pursue including Semtech, Integrated Device Technology (IDTI) and Cavium (CAVM) .

Semis have aggressively pursued M&A as the industry as a whole has matured to the point that major growth is only possible through entering new end-markets--an expensive proposition to do organically--and companies had turned to dealmaking as a way to search for new sources of growth. The relatively low cost of capital and fear of missing out have even further fueled tie-ups in the sector.

The analog segment of the broader semi universe will experience more M&A because it's still fragmented. Industry analysts have also previously highlighted Maxim Integrated Products (MXIM) as a takeout candidate as it's the only company in top 10 analog providers that haven't pursued any acquisitions and remains smaller than its peers as a result.

The $3.2 billion purchase price for Intersil equates to a multiple of 28 times estimated earnings per share for 2017 and 5.7 times revenue for Intersil, Oppenheimer analyst Rick Schafer wrote in a Monday note. By comparison, Intersil peers trade at 18 times EPS and sales, on average.

Chipmaker NXP Semiconductor (NXPI) is a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells NXPI? Learn more now.

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