Somos Semi deal boosts ST’s IoT roadmap

Somos Semi deal boosts ST’s IoT roadmap

Business news |
STMicroelectronics has acquired the assets of Somos Semiconductor, a French maker of silicon power amplifier chips and RF modules.
By Nick Flaherty

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The assets of Somos Semiconductor in Marly-le-Roy, France, have been sold to ST Microelectronics ahead of the launch of its NB-IoT / CAT-M1 wireless module.

The fabless semiconductor company was founded in 2018 and specializes in silicon-based power amplifiers and in RF Front-End Modules (FEM) products. The staff wil be joining ST.

Acquiring the assets of the company gives ST RF silicon experts, IP and roadmaps of Front-End Modules for the IoT and 5G markets alongside the recent acquisition of Riot Micro.

“There are plenty of good reasons to proceed with an asset deal,” said Benoît Rouseeau, CEO of Somos. “For example, it is much more comfortable for a big group like ST to integrate a team in its payroll instead of having this team as a subsidiary. This is not a collapse of Somos, it is the best solution for Somos product to quickly ramp up, as it will back to a very large group.”

The NB-IoT / CAT-M1 module that would have been the first product is already undergoing qualification and will form the basis of a new roadmap of connectivity RF FEM products at ST. The Somos RF silicon technology and assets will also support the development of ST’s existing roadmap of RF Front-End Modules for the 5G infrastructure market.

“Consumers and Industry expect more and better connectivity solutions. At ST we are committed to offering and enabling solutions to address these needs and challenges. Cellular IoT and 5G infrastructure technologies are key in that perspective. With this acquisition, we reinforce our ambition to play a major role in RF FEM for a buoyant connectivity IoT market and we strengthen our roadmap of RF Front-End for the 5G markets,” said Claude Dardanne, President, Microcontrollers and Digital ICs Group, at STMicroelectronics. 

“With the recent acquisition of BeSpoon for UWB technology and Riot Micro for NB-IoT modems, ST now offers its customers complete connectivity solutions leveraging the market-leading STM32 solutions and ecosystem.”

The terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but investors in Somos included Bpifrance, the French national investment bank, private equity firm Omnes Capital and XAnge, a Franco-German Venture Capital team that is part of Siparex, a leading French private equity group. Chairman Michael Faure also invested in the company in 2018. 

“I am not authorized to disclose any amount as it is agreed this way with STM, but this is a positive exit for our investors,” said Rousseau.

www.st.com

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