Skyworks to Acquire Wireless Audio, Voice and Speech Processing Specialist Avnera Corporation

August 7 2018, 07:00
Skyworks Solutions announced it signed a definitive agreement to purchase Avnera Corporation, the developer of Analog System on Chips (ASoCs) and one of the main technology providers for audio development in the areas of analog/mixed signal audio, voice and speech processing engines. Avnera solutions are used by many reputed consumer electronics brands for all wireless audio applications as well as Bluetooth, Lightning and USB-C product development.

The acquisition of Avnera, a private fabless semiconductor supplier, augments Skyworks’ leadership in wireless connectivity by adding ultra-low power analog circuits to enable smart interfaces via acoustic signal processing, sensors and integrated software. As Skyworks details, the acquisition expands its activities in synergistic, high growth applications, extending the company's reach. Upon consummation of the transaction, Skyworks will expand its addressable market by over $5 billion. Immediate target applications include AI speakers/microphones, virtual assistants, intelligent gaming controllers and vehicle in-dash systems as well as wired/wireless headsets.

“Voice is increasingly becoming the primary interface for artificial intelligence and Internet of Things applications. Skyworks’ acquisition of Avnera will enable us to capitalize on the rapid proliferation of audio functionality and its convergence with our advanced connectivity solutions,” says Liam K. Griffin, president and chief executive officer of Skyworks. 

“With Skyworks’ global sales channels, strong customer relationships and operational scale, we plan to leverage Avnera’s innovative product portfolio and systems expertise to increase our footprint in automotive, industrial, home automation, enterprise and high-end consumer markets. In short, this transaction perfectly complements Skyworks’ product roadmap and will be highly synergistic across a broader customer set.”

At the heart of Avnera’s system solutions are market-specific ASoCs that combine breakthrough audio/voice analog circuits, highly efficient power management and custom hardware accelerators for smart acoustic signal processing/AI features. Avnera’s ASoCs achieve the highest level of integration in the industry and set a new performance watermark from a power consumption and footprint standpoint ─ all underpinned by more than 100 issued and pending patents. Key Avnera customers include Audeze, Harman/JBL, Panasonic, Philips, Pioneer, Polk, Samsung, Sennheiser, Sony, Skullcandy, Vizio and Yamaha.

Since 2004, Avnera has been designing Analog System-on-Chips (ASoCs), integrating breakthrough low-power analog circuits that minimize power consumption and footprint sizes. In 2007 Avnera made breakthroughs in wireless home audio applications with its AudioMagic ASoC. The ASoC introduced breakthrough RF technology with low enough fixed latency and strong enough interference robustness to replace wired solutions. Two years later, Avnera launched the AudioMagic2G ASoC, the first single-chip, multi-channel, multi-device and multi-room wireless home theater and whole home audio solution. With latencies of just 5 ms and support for 24 bit, 96 KHz, wires were finally eliminated.

Avnera played a key role in replacing home-theater-in-a-box (HTiBs) systems with soundbars thanks to its SpeakerMagic ASoC. A soundbar on a single chip, SpeakerMagic also incorporated Avnera's breakthrough FlexAmp technology — a development that was critical to enable ultra-slim soundbars. In 2012, working in partnership with Sony, Avnera launched the world’s first single-chip ASoC for Playstation gaming headsets. Its strong wireless performance and high degree of customizability made it the de facto standard for wireless gaming headsets. Within a year of launch, headsets grew to the #2 gaming accessory (after controllers).

Avnera launched the LightX ASoC in 2014, the first universal platform for Bluetooth, Lightning and USB-C headsets, with smart features like Active Noise Cancellation at half the industry-standard power consumption. Since then, Avnera has developed a complete platform solution for the next generation of iOS accessories based on LightX ASoCs, making the company a key partner for the Apple MFi development program.

“We are extremely excited to be joining forces with Skyworks to offer customers complete system solutions for next generation smart interface applications. Both companies share a vision of enabling ubiquitous, always-on communications through highly customized designs. Together, we can develop, deliver and rapidly scale audio products with unprecedented integration and performance for the increasingly connected wireless world,” Manpreet Khaira, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Avnera adds.

Skyworks will pay $405 million in cash to Avnera equity holders at closing with up to an additional $20 million if certain performance targets are exceeded over a 12-month post-closing period. The transaction has been approved by the boards of directors of both Skyworks and Avnera and is anticipated to close by September 2018, subject to customary closing conditions. |
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