Chipmakers can't get enough exposure to the automotive market these days, but the best acquisition targets are not always so clear.
Qualcomm's (QCOM) recent $47 billion acquisition of NXP Semiconductors (NXPI) and Renesas Electronics' $3.2 billion purchase of Intersil (ISIL) in September underscore the appeal of automotive semiconductors.
While both targets have broader portfolios of products, Qualcomm and Renesas specifically cited the appeal of their automotive chip businesses. Taiwanese chipmaker MediaTek has thrown its hat in the ring, saying that it will look for acquisitions in the automotive sector. And Intel (INTC) and others could seek to boost their presence in the market as cars get smarter and more connected.
The catch is that buying automotive chips also means buying a lot of other stuff.
"There are companies that are seeing a higher and higher percentage of their revenue exposed to automotive every year," said Stifel, Nicholas analyst Tore Svanberg said. "But there is no real pure play automotive chip company out there."
NXP stood out because it had recently merged with Freescale, he added, boosting its position in cars to about 35% of revenues.