Renesas expands power portfolio with Transphorm

11th January 2024
Kristian McCann

Renesas and Transphorm have announced their agreement for Renesas to acquire all outstanding shares of Transphorm. The acquisition, valued at approximately $339 million, is set to significantly enhance Renesas's power portfolio with the addition of in-house GaN technology, pivotal for next-generation power semiconductors. 

This move positions Renesas strongly in rapidly growing markets such as electric vehicles, computing (data centres, AI, infrastructure), renewable energy, industrial power conversion, and fast chargers/adapters.

The demand for highly efficient power systems as building blocks for carbon neutrality is growing. To address this trend, there is an industry-wide shift towards wide bandgap materials like silicon carbide and GaN, which offer a broader range of voltage and switching frequency than traditional silicon-based devices. Renesas has recently established an in-house SiC production line, backed by a 10-year SiC wafer supply agreement, to capitalise on this momentum.

Renesas aims to expand its wide bandgap portfolio with Transphorm's expertise in GaN. GaN is an emerging material that allows for higher switching frequency, reduced power losses, and smaller form factors, thereby improving system efficiency, size, weight, and overall cost. Industry forecasts predict GaN demand to increase by more than 50 percent annually. Renesas plans to leverage Transphorm's auto-qualified GaN technology to develop enhanced power solutions for various sectors, including electric vehicles, computing, energy, industrial, and consumer applications.

Hidetoshi Shibata, CEO of Renesas, remarked, "Transphorm's leadership in GaN power, originating from the University of California at Santa Barbara, is exceptional. Integrating Transphorm's GaN technology with our existing IGBT and SiC momentum will significantly strengthen and diversify our power portfolio, providing comprehensive power solution options for our customers."

Dr. Primit Parikh, Co-founder, President, and CEO of Transphorm, alongside Dr. Umesh Mishra, Co-founder and CTO, commented on the merger's prospects, "Joining forces with Renesas will accelerate the adoption of wide bandgap materials across the industry and drive significant growth. This deal not only offers immediate substantial cash value to our shareholders but also expands our services and provides a robust platform for our team to advance our leading GaN technology and products."

The transaction, unanimously approved by Transphorm's board and recommended to its stockholders, is supported by KKR Phorm Investors L.P., holding approximately 38.6% of Transphorm's common stock, who has agreed to vote in favour of the transaction. The acquisition is anticipated to conclude in the second half of 2024, subject to stockholder approval, regulatory clearances, and customary closing conditions.

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