We interrupt this program……. ADI and LTC to join together

Analog Devices and Linear Technology announced that they will combine.

I remember when Texas Instruments announced the purchase of Burr-Brown Corp in late 2000. I was at Burr-Brown at the time for 8 years and the $7.86B purchase price (Stock transfers—stocks were up at that time) was unheard of. I remember thinking that the combination of two such different cultures was going to be difficult with Burr-Brown being a relatively small company atmosphere vs. the huge size and breadth of product of TI. Well it had a couple of bumps here and there, to be expected, but the acquisition actually went pretty well and TI grew to be a true Analog company presence in the industry.

The ADI/LTC combination will be similar, I expect. LTC, run by Bob Swanson and Bob Dobkin is a unique organization with a relatively small company culture in which it’s said “nobody ever leaves”. Analog Devices is, in my estimation, an excellent organization and a little more unique than most as a very large company. I see ADI not your typical huge behemoth organization. It seems to be a little more employee-focused than most mega-organizations in my experience. Even some of the satellite groups, such as at their Greensboro, N.C. location, there is semblance of a small company culture (LTC is kind of a satellite group). When TI purchased Unitrode and Power Trends in the late 90s, they got a huge shot in the arm as a power management guru. This will do the same for ADI.

ADI acquiring RF capability with their Hittite Microwave deal a few years ago greatly broadened their product line to have the full solution in RF—they had the premier high speed data converters and amplifiers already which was half of the solution—it’s like they saw 5G coming. And, to me, ADI’s only weakness was in the Power Management area—so LTC will more than fill that gap and then some.

It remains to be seen how these companies will gel together, but I am optimistic about it from what I know about both companies and the people I know within them. This will be good for the electronics industry and is in reality not such a shock with acquisitions happening all around us.

More on this later. What are your thoughts?

9 comments on “We interrupt this program……. ADI and LTC to join together

  1. jonharris0
    July 27, 2016

    Hi Steve, I enjoyed reading your thoughts on the combination of ADI and LTC.  In terms of products it is a nice compliment just as the Hittite acquisition.  It positions ADI well in terms of product offerings to compete even better in the marketplace.  I think the Hittie acquisition has gone well so far and hope the same for the combination with LTC.

  2. horvpet
    July 27, 2016

    Hi Steve, my impression is that we'll have one innovative company less on the market. There were several fields where these two great companies were competing with each other (like ADCs, amplifiers) and both had very good products. I just can't imagine that the development of the overlapping product lines will be same as before. It's simply sad for an analog guy having less choiches to choose from.

  3. Steve Taranovich
    July 27, 2016

    @horvpet—You make a good point. But let's wait and see because when a company attains a broader product line, more complete solutions emerge such as a full RF Transceiver for wxample which, in this case, includes Power management as well as some of LTC's RF solutions.

    Neither LTC nor ADI could have done this separately. Sure, ADI could use another comany's power, bur when RF, high speed data converters and op amps, plus clocks reside within the same company along with a newly acquired extensive power portfolio–there probably will be future collaboration among the different product groups for even better, more synergistic solutions—I saw personally that at TI when they acquired Burr-Brown.

    I do believe that ADI will also do this because who knows how best to power RF and Analog solutions than the teams that design those products. Now those teams can discuss the best synergistic solutions with the newly acquired LTC product lines and optimize demo boards and reference designs—all very positive

  4. Ken.Coffman
    July 28, 2016

    ADI-LTC has a shot at staying great with better odds than any other mix I can think of. In an alternate reality, imagine some of the other potential suitors and what disasters would ensue. Analog, RF and power engineers seems to have a longer shelf life than digital or software engineers, we'll see how many of the old-timers like the look of the new management. The LTC engineers I know are exceptional–they don't just fall off a welcome wagon. It's hard to excel and equally hard to keep it going year after year.

  5. Steve Taranovich
    July 28, 2016

    Excellent observation Ken!

  6. antedeluvian
    July 28, 2016

    1. Linear is a “partner” in Planet Analog. Will ADI continue this partnership?

    2. What will happen to LT Spice? WIll it expand to include ADI's offering or will it slowly disappear?

    3. LT claims never to have dicontinued a product. From what I know of ADI they are also pretty good from this perpective, but what will happen with the overlap of the components, especially the op-amps (from my perspective)?

    I know, I know- wait and see!

    But with all the consolidation in the industry, sometimes I am glad to be close to retirement

  7. Steve Taranovich
    July 28, 2016

    @antedeluvian—I just got off the phone with Vincent Roche, ADI CEO. I will be writing up an article regarding our discussion shortly.

    I must tell you that Vincent Roche is an engineer by trade and understands engineers and their needs and the importance of their unique culture, especially at LTC. After my conversation, I am so excited to see what is coming from the combination of both companies. He is also an excellent business man and visionary who makes bold moves when necessary—check out his background.

    Mergers are inevitable nowadays–companies need to survive on profitability and distinguish themselves from their competition—being better is good for all companies in light of the fact that acquisitions will not go away.

    It's how a company deals with the merger of both groups of cultures—some things are similar and some will not be, but Vincent Roche understands and respects that. See my article coming soon

  8. jonharris0
    August 3, 2016

    Excited to read your article on your conversation with Vincent.  It will be an exciting year ahead to see how things go with this.  I can understand the view of losing choices from a customer perpsective, but I agree with the comments that more synergistic solutions should be a result of this acquisition.  There is a lot of push from customers that I see to provide a more system based solution because of the offloading of engineering at many places.  This should position the company well to meet this type of demand.  I believe it is also necessary to help the company stay competitive with the other 'guys' in this industry.  I look forward to that next article Steve!

  9. Steve Taranovich
    August 3, 2016

    Thanks for you inputs Jonathan. My interview with ADI CEO Vincent Roche will be posted this week

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