Synaptics to Acquire DSP Group

Synaptics Incorporated (SAN JOSE, Calif.) announced  a definitive agreement acquires DSP Group (HERZLIYA, Israel) for a total anount of $580 million. DSPD holds Cash, deposits and marketable securities of $130 million, which implies enterprise value of approximately $450 million. The transaction is subject to DSP Group shareholder approval, and is projected to be completed by the end of 2021.

Founded in 1987, DSP Group provides DECT/ULI connectivity chips, DSP solutions for voice processing, VoIP terminals, sensors and AI and application processors for the unified communications markets. DSPG’s revenues in 2020 totaled $114.5 million, a decrease of 3% compared with the revenues of $117.6 million in 2019. Valued approximately $7.3 billion on NASDAQ, Synaptics main focus today is providing semiconductor solutions to the IoT/IoAT marketys.

It recently announced Low Power Edge AI initiative, targeting the growing market of TinyML units, that is expected to reach 2.5 billion by 2030 (ABI Research). It said that the addition of DSP Group’s SmartVoice products to Synaptics’ Katana smart vision platform, “creates a complete portfolio that can both serve existing customer needs and address the significant future market”. In addition, the combination further strengthens Synaptics’ wireless connectivity portfolio by adding DECT Ultra Low Energy (ULE) for the home security market.

“We continue to invest in technologies that tilt our product mix toward IoT applications,” said Michael Hurlston, President and CEO of Synaptics. During the conference call  yesterday, Hurlston revealed that Synaptics is planning to merge DSPG’s SmartVoice technology, and Synaptics’ Katana smart vision platform into a single unified chip.

“DSP Group’s expertise in SmartVoice and ULE wireless solutions, coupled with Synaptics’ leadership position in far-field speech recognition and IoT directed Wi-Fi/BT combos enables us to deliver increasingly differentiated solutions to our combined customer base.”

DSPG to Acquire SoundChip for $20.5 Million

DSP Group announced the acquisition of the Swiss SoundChip SA, a supplier of active noise cancellation (ANC) technology and engineering services. DSPG will pay $14.5 million in cash upon closing of the acquisition and up to an additional $6.0 million subject to the performance of certain business criteria. The transaction is projected to close in the third quarter of 2020. DSP Group expects to fund the transaction from existing cash.

DSPG from Herzliya, Near Tel Aviv, provides dedicated processors for voice, audio, video and data connectivity. The acquisition combines SoundChip’s capabilities in hybrid ANC with DSP’s SmartVoice low-power voice processing platform, which have recently been adopted by Google, Panasonic and Technics in their latest TWS headset models.

“The global pandemic has created extensive challenges for businesses and consumers worldwide, but it has also presenting new opportunities,” said Ofer Elyakim, CEO of DSP Group. “Major trends, including work from home, remote communications, and voice as a user interface, all emphasize the need for robust, integrated, and highly optimized state-of-the-art voice and connectivity solutions.”

According to a recently published iFixit teardown, DSP Group’s advanced SmartVoice solution is driving Google’s recently launched Pixel Buds 2. Earlier this year, Technics and Panasonic launched ANC-enabled TWS headsets based on a family of new advanced hybrid ANC codecs from DSP Group incorporating SoundChip’s patented Soundflex technology. The research firm Strategy Analytics forecast that the total market for TWS units is expected to grow from 170 million units in 2019 to 1.2 billion units by 2024, representing an $8 billion total addressable market (TAM) for companies such as DSPG.


Deutsche Telekom Selected DSPG chip for Smart Speaker

Deutsche Telekom is developing a smart speaker with two-way HD voice, to support hands-free calling from the speaker. The new device will employ the DECT/ULE communication protocol and HD voice processor based on a chip produced by DSP Group from Herzliya, near Tel Aviv. Industry sources estimated the deal can reach a total of $50 million sales to DT. This is an important boost to DSPG, whose smart home sales declined 27% in Q2 2018.

DT said that two way voice use cases are taking center stage as an innovative application of HD voice technology, paving the way for other voice-enabled smart home applications. “DECT and ULE technologies are the only ones on the market built specifically for voice applications,” said Ofer Elyakim, CEO of DSP Group. “We have spent the last 20 years perfecting our SoC solutions to offer superior customer experiences and enabling leading OEM and service providers’ to deliver innovative smart home products.”

DT beleives that the emergence of voice enabled devices and two-way voice interaction, voice in the smart home will become the interface-of-choice and DECT/ULE is gaining ground as the go-to wireless standard for applications requiring high-quality voice. “With the ability to leverage DSP Group’s HD voice solution in our Smart Speaker to make high quality voice calls with all the benefits of DECT gives us a competitive advantage,” commented Bernd Müller, Lead Product Manager for Smart Speaker at Deutsche Telekom.

Today, this market is dominated mainly by Apple, Amazon and Google. Deutsche Telekom’s announcement indicates that a new copetitor is entering this emerging market.