By Wallace Witkowski
'You've seen cloud companies growing like crazy,' Marvell executive tells MarketWatch of reason for deal that follows AMD-Xilinx and Nvidia-Arm
Marvell (MRVL) said Thursday morning it would build out its cloud data-center and 5G portfolio by acquiring Inphi (IPHI) for $66 cash and 2.323 shares of Marvel stock per share, valuing Inphi at $8.21 billion or $157.83 a share, a 42% premium to Wednesday's closing price. The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2021. Inphi specializes in optical digital signal processors that are essential for making high-speed connections within and between data centers.
Shares of Inphi surged as much as 29% on the news and were last up 26%. Marvell shares were off about 3%.
The Marvell-Inphi deal is the third multibillion chip-related combination announced in a space of less than two months. The announcement follows Advanced Micro Devices Inc.'s AMD (#phrase-company?ref=COMPANY%7CAMD;onlineSignificance=passing-mention)deal announced Tuesday to acquire Xilinx Inc ((#phrase-company?ref=COMPANY%7CXLNX;onlineSignificance=passing-mention) for $35 billion in stock. Last month, Nvidia Corp. NVDA (#phrase-company?ref=COMPANY%7CNVDA;onlineSignificance=passing-mention) said it would acquire microprocessor design company ARM Holdings PLC from SoftBank Group Corp. JP:9984 (#phrase-company?ref=COMPANY%7CJP%3A9984;onlineSignificance=passing-mention) for $40 billion in cash and stock ( ).
For more: AMD smells Intel's blood in the water and strikes with Xilinx deal ()
Infrastructure conditions created by the COVID-19 pandemic have been a strong motivator behind the deals, as millions regularly work and go to school from home every day and online connections have become the default. Those connections and the services people are connecting to are powered by data centers, which will continue to need semiconductors to run.
"This pandemic has just fueled all the growth drivers out there: You've seen cloud companies growing like crazy," Chris Koopmans, Marvell vice president of marketing and business operations, told MarketWatch in an interview. "Effectively, it has accelerated trends that were already in place."
Marvell's acquisition of Inphi would be the company's biggest since it bought network equipment maker Cavium Inc. for $6 billion () a little more than two years ago. Marvell has always admired Inphi and the two companies have had a longstanding relationship, so executing a combination was a matter of finding "when do you think it makes sense," Koopmans said.
Susquehanna Financial analyst Christopher Rolland, who has a positive rating and a $50 price target on Marvell, said Inphi's portfolio of high-speed optical digital signal processing interconnects for cloud data centers and carrier networks are "a missing piece to Marvell's portfolio today."
While he sees little near-term profit growth coming from the deal, Rolland said he believes in Marvell Chief Executive Matt Murphy's "long-term vision to build out capabilities in networking."
"The price Marvell paid for this asset is undoubtedly steep, but management views this as a long-term necessity in its goal to offer end-to-end enterprise networking, and a chance to re-emphasize cutting edge networking speeds and feeds to perhaps rival Broadcom (AVGO) and Nvidia (Mellanox)."
More on the semiconductor sector: How did Intel lose its Silicon Valley crown? ()
The combined company will be based in the U.S., Marvell said; Marvell is currently domiciled in Bermuda with a U.S. headquarters in Santa Clara, Calif., and Inphi is based in Santa Clara. Additionally, Marvel said it expects third-quarter revenue of $735 million to $765 million when it reports results on Dec. 3. Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected revenue of $751.1 million.
For the year, Marvell shares are up 45% and Inphi shares are up 90%, compared with a 23% gain in the PHLX Semiconductor Index , a 25% rise in the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index , and a 3% advance in the S&P 500 index .
-Wallace Witkowski; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
October 29, 2020 14:25 ET (18:25 GMT)
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