A growing number of electronic devices are being designed with power modules instead of discrete components. The latest sign of that shift came recently when Cree acquired Arkansas Power Electronics International, a maker of high-density power modules. Neither companies disclosed the terms of the deal.
The transaction is Cree’s latest bid to expand its power and radio frequency business. APEI’s intellectual property gives the chipmaker a wider range of applications for its silicon-carbide (SiC) components. In particular, the company is aiming to develop new SiC power modules.
Cree makes a broad range of power diodes and MOSFETs, as well as power modules that contain those components. The acquisition could extend its power modules into markets like renewable energy, communications, and industrial power supplies. Cree has announced plans to spin out its Power and RF business, which generated almost $120 million last year, into a separate entity.
In recent years, Cree and APEI have worked together on several government research contracts. In 2014, the companies partnered to develop an electric vehicle battery charger for an Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, or ARPA-E, program. APEI will operate as a subsidiary known as Cree Fayetteville.