Analog Devices to Buy Linear Technology for $14.8 Billion

Why Analog Devices Would Want to Buy Linear
  • Acquirer reports profit, sales beat estimates in the quarter
  • Purchase to be funded partially by $7.3 billion of new debt

Analog Devices Inc. agreed to acquire Linear Technology Corp. for about $14.8 billion, potentially restarting a scramble by chipmakers to add scale amid record industry consolidation.

Analog will pay $60 a share for rival Linear, in cash and stock -- a premium of 24 percent to its closing price Monday -- the two companies said in a statement Tuesday. They expect to close the transaction by the first half of 2017.

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. The purchase of Linear will give it access to the market for chips that control power in devices.

Like its rivals, Analog Devices is looking to get bigger 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 competitor, National Semiconductor Corp., and updating production, Texas Instruments says it has cheaper manufacturing and more product offerings than anyone else. Its stock hit a record this year.

The benchmark Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index jumped on news of the acquisition, gaining 3.8 percent. Maxim Integrated Products Inc. and Microchip Technology Inc., industry competitors, both gained more than 5 percent.

To read an analysis about the deal and how some analysts missed the mark, click here.

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 in total were announced, including Avago Technologies Ltd.’s $37 billion acquisition of rival Broadcom Corp.

Analog Devices said it will fund the purchase with about 58 million new shares and $7.3 billion of new long-term debt, with the balance coming from the combined company’s balance sheet cash. Analog Devices also updated its forecasts for the current quarter. Sales will be about $865 million, yielding an adjusted profit of 77 cents to 78 cents cents a share. Analysts had been predicting a profit on that basis of 70 cents a share on sales of $817.9 million.

The acquirer was advised by Credit Suisse, according to the statement. Qatalyst Partners advised Linear on the transaction.

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