Silicon Labs to sell unit to Skyworks for $2.75 bln, shares surge after hours

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April 22 (Reuters) - Silicon Laboratories Inc (SLAB.O) said on Thursday it would sell its infrastructure and automotive business to Skyworks Solutions Inc (SWKS.O) for $2.75 billion in an all-cash transaction, as the chipmaker doubles down on wireless chips for smart home gear.

Shares of Silicon Labs jumped 12.4% to $162.6 in after hours trading, while shares of Irvine, California-based Skyworks were up 4.4% at $191.5.

The deal includes Silicon Labs' power and isolation chips used in electric cars, among other products, as well as all the intellectual property and 350 employees for the products, the company said in a statement.

Austin, Texas-based Silicon Labs has been in recent years focused on the internet-of-things (IoT) market, selling wireless chips for smart home devices. Those devices use a smattering of different radio communications protocols, and Silicon Labs has won deals with gadget makers by packing those different standards into a single chip that can be used to work with smart-home networks from Alphabet Inc's (GOOGL.O) Google and (AMZN.O).

Silicon Labs Chief Executive Tyson Tuttle told Reuters that IoT chips make up about 60% of the company's business, with revenue growing at more than 20% per year. But the IoT products have different customer bases and supply chains than the company's automotive and infrastructure businesses.

"If you look at what we're doing in IoT, it's more than just about the silicon - it's also about the software, the wireless connectivity, the broad range of applications in the platform that we're developing," Tuttle said. "That requires focus and clarity to be able to really optimize."

Silicon Labs started to run a process to divest auto and infrastructure business since last fall. The unit generated $375 million in revenue in 2020.

It expects to receive $2.3 billion in net proceeds from the deal and will return about $2 billion to shareholders through a combination of special dividends and buybacks.

Analog semiconductors maker Skyworks hopes to use the acquisition to expand further into growing sectors including electric and hybrid vehicles, industrial and 5G wireless sectors. It plans to fund the deal with cash on hand and committed debt financing.

The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2021, the company said. Qatalyst Partners served as financial advisor to Silicon Labs, while JP Morgan advised Skyworks.

Reporting by Stephen Nellis and Noor Zainab Hussain; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Krystal reports on venture capital and startups for Reuters. She covers Silicon Valley and beyond through the lens of money and characters, with a focus on growth-stage startups, tech investments and AI. She has previously covered M&A for Reuters, breaking stories on Trump's SPAC and Elon Musk's Twitter financing. Previously, she reported on Amazon for Yahoo Finance, and her investigation of the company's retail practice was cited by lawmakers in Congress. Krystal started a career in journalism by writing about tech and politics in China. She has a master's degree from New York University, and enjoys a scoop of Matcha ice cream as much as getting a scoop at work.