Analog Devices sells its MEMS microphone business to InvenSense

Paul Boughton

Analog Devices has signed a definitive agreement to sell its microphone sensor product line to US competitor InvenSense.

InvenSense will acquire the assets related to analogue and digital output microphones, as well as certain support operations, for $100 million in cash.

These microphones, built using a micromachined (MEMS) process were primarily used in consumer applications and are expected to represent less than one percent of ADI’s total revenue in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2013, which ends November 2, 2013. InvenSense has been growing rapidly in recent years through its range of MEMS accelerometers.

“This agreement will allow ADI to focus on combining precision sensing technology and signal processing systems expertise to deliver the highest value to customers in our highest priority markets while driving sustainable growth and profitability for ADI,” said Mark Martin, vice president of ADI’s Sensor Products and Technology Group. “The impact of high performance inertial sensing innovation is increasing across automotive, industrial, and healthcare applications and we are focusing our resources accordingly.”

The boards of directors of both companies have approved the transaction, which is expected to close by the end of October 2013.

The acquisition aims to accelerate InvenSense’s audio roadmap and complement its current MEMS System on Chip (SoC) product offerings at existing mobile, gaming and wearable device customers, while gaining entry into new markets. It includes approximately 30-40 of ADI’s core employees within the MBL product line and certain support operations, located primarily in Wilmington, Bratislava in  Slovakia and Shanghai, China.
"Our fabless MEMS business model and our leadership in MotionTracking solutions have positioned us for significant growth in the coming years in our existing markets” said Behrooz Abdi, President & Chief Executive Officer of InvenSense. “Audio is fast becoming complementary to motion as a means for interacting with contextually aware devices and applications, with an increasing attach rate of 2-3 microphones per high-end phone. With this acquisition, we are excited to welcome an exceptionally experienced team into InvenSense that will enable us to significantly scale our audio product portfolio, accelerate our time to market, and achieve long-term growth in the broader sensor SoC market."

The deal doesn’t affect other ADI MEMS products such as accelerometers. The company launched a 3-axis, 200-g digital MEMS accelerometer with the highest bandwidth and lowest power in its class.

The ADXL375 continuously measures the duration and magnitude of impact or shock events within the full-scale range of ±200 g without saturation and consumes 140μA at a full bandwidth of up to 1,600Hz, delivering more than twice the sampling rate of competing sensors at less than half the power.

The ADXL375 is suited for low- and battery-powered wireless sensor networks used in concussion detection, transportation, asset tracking and other applications that are subject to sudden, high-magnitude forces.

The sensor has been designed into the newest generation of the Blast Gauge, a body-worn blast detection system developed by BlackBox Biometrics. The device is currently deployed with US Armed Forces to measure and record concussive event data that is then used for health and safety assessment.
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