ON Semi pays $1.1bn for Quantenna, AirTies next?

WiFi chip specialist Quantenna has been acquired for $1.1bn, not by Broadcom or Qualcomm as many would have expected, but by ON Semiconductor, which addresses a wide range of sectors including automotive and IoT.

The purchase is a solid one for ON. Quantenna’s customer list includes some of the world’s largest operators and the company has continued to surpass all expectations with consistently solid financial results and intriguing conversations during our various trade show meetings. WiFi 6 (802.11ax) and mesh are the hottest topics in WiFi right now, and should generate high demand.

In recent years, ON Semiconductor has dabbled in many areas including modular automotive imaging platforms and wireless charging technologies. Automotive is the firm’s  largest sector, while its wireless, industrial and consumer segments are all growing quickly. Notable acquisitions prior to Quantenna include the $2.4bn purchase of Fairchild Semiconductor and the more modest $13m acquisition of Axsem.

Like other WiFi technology firms, whether in silicon or software, Quantenna is competing on performance, resilience and coverage, with the aim of delivering consistent QoS across the whole premise, whether a home, enterprise office or public space. Its success has been founded largely on being ahead of the game so that deploying impending standards in its products ahead of ratification has been crucial.

This of course is combined with a guarantee that products, primarily access points, home gateways, routers and repeaters, will be fully compatible with those standards when ratified.

Quantenna’s acquisition again raises the question of how long it will be before someone swoops for AirTies? And could the Turkish mesh WiFi software developer too be valued above $1bn?