March 6, 2014

Silicon Labs acquires chip maker Touchstone Semiconductor

Silicon Laboratories, a major producer of integrated circuit (IC) products, recently announced that it had acquired the full product portfolio and intellectual property of Touchstone Semiconductor for $1.5 million. Industry analysts speculate that the technology acquisition is a part of Silicon Labs' larger strategy of gaining a larger position in the quickly growing Internet of Things (IoT) sector. 

As a result of the purchase, Austin, Texas-based Silicon Labs will gain approximately 70 analog products that will help engineers reduce the power needed to run battery-operated products. 

"These low-power analog components are very complementary to the existing solution that we have and allow us to sell more products into IoT applications," Silicon Lab's chief product officer, Dave Bresemann, said in a interview with EE Times. "It's well aligned with the low-power strategy we already have with the Internet of Things."

Based in Milpitas, Caliornia, Touchstone Semiconductor launched in 2010 with $12 million in backing from several Silicon Valley venture capital firms. In a different EE Times article, Touchstone's founder Brett Fox said that he did not have any intention to sell his company so quickly, but the acquisition was necessary to keep the firm afloat. Silicon Labs already had a working relationship with Touchstone and understood the business, so such a purchase made sense. 

Although neither company went into detail about the specifics of the deal, EE Times reports that a "handful" of Touchstone employees will join Silicon Labs, but Brett Fox will not be one of them. 

Bresemann would not say whether the acquisition would be beneficial to Silicon Lab's bottom line, but said that the product offerings from Touchstone were promising.