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22 July 2015

Bridgelux to be acquired by group led by China Electronics Corporation

Bridgelux Inc of Livermore, CA, USA has agreed to be acquired by an investment group led by China Electronics Corporation (CEC) and ChongQing Linkong Development Investment Company.

Established in 1989, CEC is one of China's largest IT firms, controling 61 second-level subsidiaries including 13 listed holding companies employing more than 70,000 staff at manufacturing facilities in Beijing, Shanghai, Wuhan, Shenzhen, Nanjing, Changsha, and Xiamen.

Bridgelux is a developer and manufacturer of solid-state lighting sources with more than 145 staff. Last year it announced an expansion of its China operations, increasing its investment and capabilities in the country by opening an R&D center in Xiamen dedicated to supporting the development and manufacture of new solid-state lighting products - including extensions to its V Series chip-on-board (COB) product line – and opening an applications lab in Shanghai's Hongqiao district to assist China customers with the design and enhancement of lamps and fixtures integrating Bridgelux's LED light source products. Bridgelux's Xiamen R&D facility is co-located with China-based LED and solid-state lighting (SSL) company Kaistar Lighting (which was jointly founded by CEC and Epistar), a strategic supply chain partner that provides outsourced contract manufacturing of LEDs to Bridgelux and invested in the firm in 2012.

Previously, in 2013, Bridgelux transferred its gallium nitride-on-silicon (GaN-on-Si) technology assets to Toshiba and inaugurated a new phase in their GaN-on-Si LED collaboration (including an expanded licensing and manufacturing supply relationship), while Bridgelux continued to develop and market its GaN-on-sapphire LED products as a fabless solid-state lighting company.

"The advances Bridgelux has made over the last 13 years have been instrumental in driving the adoption of energy-efficient LED technologies worldwide," comments CEC's CEO Mr Liu. "Bridgelux has all of the characteristics we look for in an investment, including leading technology, a broad IP portfolio and a globally recognizable brand and channel," he adds. "This investment is an important step toward further aligning CEC and partner assets into a coordinated supply chain built to serve the unique requirements of the solid-state lighting market."

With its existing investments in lighting fixture and lamp manufacturing as well as other IT and consumer electronics technologies, CEC's captive businesses are expected to offer substantial scale and growth benefits for Bridgelux. Also, CEC and its affiliates have built technology development and manufacturing operations across the LED supply chain. Bridgelux reckons that alignment with these partners should give it a durable, long-term cost advantage, complementing its existing technology, and will further allow it to focus on segment- and application-level innovations.

"CEC is the perfect partner to help Bridgelux achieve its next level of growth," believes Bridgelux's CEO Brad Bullington. "Leveraging the momentum of our existing partnerships with CEC affiliates, complemented by a strong supply chain, world-class manufacturing, and chip, packaging and go-to-market capabilities, CEC will help Bridgelux expand its technology footprint and reach more customers globally," he adds.

Bridgelux and CEC expect the acquisition to close within the next 6-8 weeks (subject to customary regulatory approvals). Afterwards, Bridgelux will continue to operate as a standalone company under its existing management team as a US subsidiary of CEC, proceeding with its existing products and next-generation roadmap. Over time, Bridgelux expects to see the benefits of its enhanced relationship with the CEC supply chain through an expansion of its product portfolio and a greater ability to serve lighting customers with an expanded range of new technologies.

Bridgelux to spin off LED smart-lighting business Xenio

In conjunction, Bridgelux's board of directors has approved a plan to spin off its Xenio-branded smart lighting LED platform business as a new standalone company Xenio Corp, based in San Francisco.  

Xenio will focus on the development of software-enabled LED modules for the emerging Internet of Things (IoT) market, benefitting from partnerships and investments from Bridgelux, Toshiba, DCM Ventures, VantagePoint Capital Partners and other ecosystem partners.

The new firm, which will have independent, dedicated engineering and go-to-market teams, will be overseen by Bridgelux's CEO Brad Bullington as executive chairman. Bullington will leverage the leadership of Bridgelux while seeking additional expertise from the IoT and building management industries.

Having incubated a number of core technology assets and IP over the past two years within Bridgelux, Xenio will focus on LED module design and manufacturing to address the emerging $135bn lighting opportunity in the Internet of Things (IoT) market. Most recently, at May's Lightfair International (LFI 2015) in New York, Bridgelux launched its Xenio Point, Xenio Link and Xenio Power products (for shipping in volume later this year).

"Establishing Xenio as a stand-alone company is a significant acknowledgment of the unique capabilities required to serve a new set of connected lighting and data infrastructure platforms which we believe will unlock the potential of solid-state lighting technology," says Bullington. "We are creating a new company that has a strong LED heritage," he adds. "At the same time, this transaction allows us to immediately focus on addressing the rapidly growing opportunity in IoT and connected devices."

Xenio's aim is to develop and deliver networked and software-driven solutions that bring intelligence to lighting fixtures, providing a platform to deliver IoT services in the rapidly growing smart building space. Critical to this will be Xenio's integration of LED light source technology with power, radio, sensor, application and cloud software into a low-cost, easy-to-install network.

These technologies will combine to enable lighting functions such as deep dimming and color tuning while deploying the sensor network to reduce energy consumption and to drive real-time engagement with occupants or even goods inside a building.  

"With a focus on providing a complete, intelligent technology solution for lighting and systems manufacturers, we believe we can deliver a revolutionary smart-lighting platform that will further enable the Internet of Things," concludes Bullington.

See related items:

Bridgelux launches integrated smart module LED array with open platform technology

Bridgelux expanding China operations

Bridgelux expands V Series line of LED chip-on-board light sources

Bridgelux closes agreement with Toshiba, completing transfer of GaN-on-Si technology

Tags: Bridgelux LEDs

Visit: www.bridgelux.com

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