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28 November 2013

Transphorm and Fujitsu to merge GaN power device businesses

Tokyo-based Fujitsu Ltd, its Yokohama-based subsidiary Fujitsu Semiconductor Ltd and Transphorm Inc of Goleta, near Santa Barbara, CA, USA have agreed for Fujitsu Semiconductor and Transphorm to integrate their respective businesses supplying gallium nitride (GaN) power devices for power supplies. It is reckoned that the integration will greatly improve the market competitiveness of Transphorm’s GaN power device business. The three firms have also agreed that both Fujitsu and Fujitsu Semiconductor will take a minority equity position in Transphorm.

Backed by Google Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Foundation Capital and Lux Capital, Transphorm was co-founded in 2007 by CEO Umesh Mishra, a professor of electrical & computer engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), but only emerged from stealth mode in early 2011.

Device makers worldwide are competing to commercialize GaN power devices. While Transphorm has already released what it claims are the first qualified high-voltage commercial GaN devices, the company continues to make significant improvements in performance, quality and productivity. Given this, Fujitsu, Fujitsu Semiconductor and Transphorm will bring together their complementary strengths in technology and manufacturing to enable GaN power device solutions to be delivered quickly to the market with both scale and affordability.

“Integrating Transphorm’s operations with Fujitsu will enable high-volume and high-performance GaN power device production at Aizu-Wakamatsu, and we will also benefit from Fujitsu's strong technological capabilities underpinned by Fujitsu Groups’ years of developments in the field of GaN power device,” says Transphorm's CEO Fumihide Esaka. “In addition to being a future user for GaN solutions, Fujitsu has also built customer relationships with many power management companies in Japan, one of the most important markets for Transphorm,” he adds.

“This business integration, together with our contribution to Transphorm’s management as a minority shareholder, will enable Fujitsu to meet Transphorm’s needs by offering low-cost volume production, highly reliable technologies, and quality assurance methodologies,” says Fujitsu’s president Masami Yamamoto. “This collaboration will greatly accelerate the introduction and market share expansion of Transphorm's GaN power devices,” he adds. “While making efforts to promote the innovative value of more compact and exceptionally efficient power supply which only GaN technologies can provide, Fujitsu will aggressively work to embed GaN power devices into Fujitsu products as one component of our energy-saving solutions. Our work in the GaN RF device business continues to move forward, as does our drive to conduct advanced research on GaN devices and applied development of RF and power supply modules,” Yamamoto continues.

“From 2009, Fujitsu Semiconductor has moved forward on developing the mass-production technology needed to bring GaN power devices to market, and at the end of 2011 began sample shipments of GaN power devices with 600V breakdown voltage, followed by 150V breakdown voltage GaN devices in July of this year,” notes Fujitsu Semiconductor’s president Haruki Okada. “We have positioned GaN power devices as one of our future core products for the Aizu-Wakamatsu plant,” he adds. “The integration announced today will enable us to collaborate with Transphorm and leverage their technologies to accelerate the drive to mass production and, we anticipate, contribute to the vitality of the Aizu-Wakamatsu region. With our track record and capabilities to mass produce silicon devices that meet the stringent quality requirements of customers in automotive, industrial equipment and other industries, the Aizu-Wakamatsu plant will also be able to offer GaN power devices that customers can purchase with confidence.”

Fujitsu and Fujitsu Semiconductor will establish a new company in Japan for the GaN power device business, and will transfer their combined design and development assets as well as intellectual property rights in GaN power devices. The two firms will make an in-kind investment in Transphorm in the form of the new company’s shares, and will receive an equivalent value of shares in Transphorm in return. The new company will hence become a wholly owned subsidiary of Transphorm. In addition, Fujitsu and Fujitsu Semiconductor will make a cash investment in Transphorm and contribute to Transphorm’s management as minority shareholders.

The staff at Fujitsu and Fujitsu Semiconductor who are directly involved in the GaN power device business will be reassigned to the new company, where they will continue development and production work with Transphorm’s employees. After the integration, Transphorm will continue R&D work at both its prototyping line in the USA as well as Fujitsu Semiconductor's Aizu-Wakamatsu plant, which will be under exclusive contract with Transphorm to handle wafer processing.

Transphorm and Fujitsu Semiconductor conclude that they intend to build a global market by generating synergies from bringing together their marketing, customer support and applications development capabilities.

See related items:

Transphorm’s 600V GaN power conversion adopted by Delta

Transphorm launches first JEDEC-qualified 600V GaN-on-Si power devices

Transphorm’s $25m Series D round raises funding to $63m

Transphorm emerges from stealth mode prior to launching GaN power modules

Fujitsu develops GaN HEMT for use in power supplies

Tags: Transphorm Fujitsu GaN HEMT GaN-on-Si

Visit: www.transphormusa.com

Visit: http://jp.fujitsu.com/fsl/en

Visit: www.fujitsu.com

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