Alphawave IP has agreed to acquire OpenFive, a SiFive business unit (formerly Open-Silicon) for $210m in cash. Having spent many years in the ASIC business which included working with Open-Silicon, Alphawave, and OpenFive here is my perspective on the acquisition:
This acquisition accomplishes two things: First it trims down SiFive as they march to IPO. In concert with this acquisition SiFive raised an additional $175M which earned them a more than $2.5B valuation, doble unicorn status, which is a first for a semiconductor IP company.
Last year it was rumored that SiFive was in acquisition discussions with Intel, which I can confirm, but the valuation was too high. Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger has a strong acquisition background and has many opportunities. He also passed on Globalfoundries for the much smaller Tower Semiconductor which I think was an excellent move for both companies. GF’s IPO is booming and Israel based Tower Semi is a perfect fit to run the Intel Foundry business. The same goes for this acquisition. SiFive will successfully IPO and Alphawave IP will do quite well with the ASIC experts at OpenFive. This is one of the rare 1+1 = 3 semiconductor acquisitions, absolutely.
With OpenFive, Alphawave now competes in the multibillion dollar ASIC business with the likes of Marvel, who acquired the ASIC business from GF and eSilicon, and Broadcom who has the Avago/LSI Logic ASIC business.
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