Electronic Design

Burr-Brown Buy Boosts TI's Role In Analog, Data Conversion

Bolstering its presence in the analog and data-converter markets, Dallas-based Texas Instruments is acquiring Burr-Brown Corp. of Tucson, Ariz. Burr-Brown will become part of TI's catalog-analog organization. TI will continue to use the Burr-Brown name for a considerable period of time. The purchase should be consummated sometime this quarter.

Even though TI produces power-management ICs and data converters, it hasn't had a substantial role in the high-speed, high-precision portion of the analog market. With Burr-Brown, a supplier of precision amplifiers and analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog converters (ADCs and DACs), TI hopes to fill that void quickly and make its presence known in the highest end of the analog industry.

"Tapping design expertise and advanced processes within the two companies, TI is now better equipped to provide complete DSP solutions," explains Alun Roberts, director of worldwide marketing for TI's advanced analog division. "Burr-Brown is a major provider of high-performance, low-noise audio codecs to audio system manufacturers around the world. The company \[TI\] can now leverage Burr-Brown's presence in this application domain and drive TI DSPs into audio systems."

Roberts adds that similarly, the company is now better positioned to address the needs of high-performance amplifiers and data converters in the communications, industrial, instrumentation, and consumer space. And, the potential of winning new DSP sockets in these sectors is greatly enhanced.

In fact, TI intends to combine its high-speed processes and manufacturing prowess with Burr-Brown's design skills to develop a new class of power-efficient, cost-effective analog and data-converter ICs for emerging applications. The companies plan on designing parts that are mutually complementary. TI also will try to extend and expand its product portfolio much faster than either company could independently.

Immediately, TI will begin work on 24-bit precision. Presently, TI's data-converter precision capability tops out at 16 bits. The combined strengths will let TI's designers bundle complete analog front ends for a variety of its faster DSPs. Burr-Brown, meanwhile, will leverage TI's DSPs.

"We are as serious about analog as we are about DSP," says Tom Engibous, TI's chairman, president, and CEO. "The people at Burr-Brown are elite developers of high-performance analog products. This combination means that TI will have a leading position in essentially every high-performance analog category and the ability to offer almost any analog component that touches a DSP."

Syrus Madavi, Burr-Brown's president, chairman, and CEO, says that "TI's strength in DSP will introduce our high-performance analog and data-converter products into new applications." He also says that the move will provide several advantages to both companies' customers.

Complementary Components
"The makers of Internet appliances and communications systems will have the best of both worlds in one company, with complementary components to optimally meet their total signal processing requirements," Madavi notes. "Our combined force of analog and DSP technical experts in the field will deliver unmatched support as our customers develop their systems."

This is TI's third acquisition in the past 12 months in the catalog-analog semiconductor sector. Last October, TI acquired Unitrode Corp. of Merrimack, N.H., a producer of power-management ICs. In November, the company bought Power Trends of Warrenville, Ill., a supplier of plug-in dc-dc converter modules for DSPs and microprocessors. But the Burr-Brown deal is the company's biggest acquisition, valued at $7.6 billion. By purchasing Burr-Brown, which enjoyed $291 million in revenues in 1999, TI hopes to achieve $4 billion in analog revenues this year.

TI's analog business, which includes Unitrode's power-management ICs, stood at $2.8 billion last year. The 1999 total worldwide analog market totaled about $22 billion. This is projected to surge to $30 billion this year. According to the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), the amplifier and data converter markets are rapidly growing. SIA expects 25% growth this year for data converters, while amplifiers should see a 45% improvement in sales. The acquisition, TI believes, will let the company reap some of the benefits of this boom.

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