10 Reasons Why Silicon Labs’ Acquisition of Sigma is Awesome for Z-Wave

IoT chip-maker Silicon Labs (SLAB) to acquire Z-Wave technology owner Sigma Designs (SIGM), giving a big boost to the home-automation standard.


Austin, Texas-based Silicon Labs (Nasdaq: SLAB), a leading silicon provider for most of the key IoT standards, is acquiring Fremont, Calif.-based Sigma Designs (Nasdaq: SIGM), the only chip maker for Z-Wave home-automation technology. Sigma will dump its smart-TV business elsewhere. (Yes, the lawyers are already inviting disgruntled SIGM shareholders to revolt.

Z-Wave will join SiLabs' smart-home portfolio of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ZigBee, Thread and proprietary technologies, creating a formidable “one-stop shop for wireless connectivity solutions for the home,” says company CEO Tyson Tuttle.

No other chip maker can make this claim … because no other company makes Z-Wave semiconductors. Sigma has enjoyed a monopoly on the silicon since acquiring Z-Wave inventor Zensys in 2008 — a proprietorship that harms Z-Wave adoption, according to many IoT watchers.

SiLabs, having benefited from competition in the wireless-connectivity business, might embrace a more open market for Z-Wave chips, expanding the overall appeal of the platform.

Avi Rosenthal's Top 10 List

Avi Rosenthal, principal of IoT Consulting, LLC and a long-time participant in the Z-Wave Alliance, thinks the acquisition is nothing short of “awesome” for Z-Wave. Here are 10 reasons why:

  1. Silicon Labs is a major player in the fabless semiconductor business and understands how to drive standards in silicon.
  2. The management team at Sigma never really understood how to take advantage of the market position that Z-Wave holds.
  3. Now controlled by a multi-chip IoT vendor, Z-Wave gains legitimacy in no longer being a one-chip wonder under Sigma.
  4. SiLabs can use its leadership in the silicon world to drive more Z-Wave adoption. As suppliers for ZigBee, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Thread developers, they're already working with all the right customers.
  5. SiLabs can focus on Z-Wave, whereas Sigma was burdened by its legacy smart-TV business.
  6. The combined talents of SiLabs and Sigma engineers will make Z-Wave technology better than ever.
  7. With strong market shares in both Z-Wave and ZigBee technology, the combined group will be able to develop best-of-breed solutions to further both standards in the future.
  8. SiLabs prides itself on multiprotocol wireless connectivity, combining such technologies as Bluetooth, ZigBee and Thread on a single SoC. Is a combo Z-Wave/ZigBee chip in our future? 
  9. SiLabs also makes Bluetooth (BLE) and Wi-Fi chips. A combo chip with either of those plus Z-Wave would be fantastic. Granted, Z-Wave operates in the 900 MHz and 868 MHz ranges, while BLE and Wi-FI use 2.4 GHz, but if anyone can anyone can make an efficient combo, SiLabs can.
  10. Austin is a much better town than Fremont.


Silicon Labs Announces Definitive Agreement to Acquire Sigma Designs, Inc.

  • Cash transaction valued at approximately $282 million
  • Z-Wave expands Silicon Labs' wireless connectivity technologies for the smart home
  • Combines world-class talent and IP portfolios to drive innovation
  • Subsequent to divestiture and restructuring actions, Silicon Labs expects the transaction to be accretive on a non-GAAP basis

AUSTIN, Texas and FREMONT, Calif., Dec. 7, 2017 — Silicon Labs (NASDAQ: SLAB) and Sigma Designs, Inc. (NASDAQ: SIGM) today announced a definitive agreement under which Silicon Labs will acquire Sigma Designs for $7.05 per share in a cash transaction valued at approximately $282 million, subject to certain closing conditions. This price represents a 26 percent premium over Sigma Designs' closing price of $5.60 per share on Dec. 6, 2017.

Sigma Designs provides solutions for the connected home including Z-Wave, a leading Internet of Things (IoT) technology for smart home solutions. Z-Wave supplies some of the world's largest ecosystems of smart home IoT products with more than 2,100 certified, interoperable devices available from more than 600 manufacturers. The addition of Z-Wave will expand Silicon Labs' wireless connectivity portfolio and worldwide customer base for the connected home.

“The connected home represents one of the largest market opportunities in the IoT. Today, there is no single dominant wireless technology for home automation, and protocols include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Zigbee, Thread and proprietary,” said Tyson Tuttle, CEO of Silicon Labs. “By adding Z-Wave technology to Silicon Labs' connectivity portfolio, we will be better positioned to serve this fast-growing market. Ecosystem providers and developers will have a one-stop shop for wireless connectivity solutions for the home.”

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The addition of Z-Wave extends connectivity options for developers and ecosystem providers and delivers alternatives to customers and markets for secure, interoperable IoT devices. Silicon Labs intends to work in collaboration with the Z-Wave Alliance to drive adoption and development of Z-Wave technology.

“This is an exciting day for Sigma Designs, and we are pleased to be joining forces with Silicon Labs,” said Thinh Q. Tran, President and CEO of Sigma Designs, Inc. “Silicon Labs and Z-Wave share a vision of secure, interoperable smart homes. This transaction provides immediate value to our shareholders, and offers new growth opportunities for our employees and customers to develop a wider range of leading-edge solutions.”

In addition to Z-Wave technology, Sigma Designs also provides solutions for Media Connectivity and Smart TV. Sigma Designs plans to divest or wind down its Smart TV business. In addition, Sigma Designs is in active discussions with prospective buyers to divest its Media Connectivity business. Subsequent to divestiture and restructuring actions, Silicon Labs expects the acquisition of Sigma Designs to be accretive on a non-GAAP basis.

In the event that certain closing conditions are not met, the parties have agreed that Sigma Designs would instead sell its Z-Wave business to Silicon Labs for $240 million, contingent upon approval by Sigma Designs' stockholders.

The boards of directors of both companies have approved the transaction. Silicon Labs expects the transaction to close in the first calendar quarter of 2018.

Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC is serving as financial advisor to Silicon Labs, and Deutsche Bank is serving as financial advisor to Sigma Designs.

Conference Call

Silicon Labs will host a conference call to discuss details of the transaction. A live webcast and the accompanying presentation relating to the transaction will be available in the “Investors” section of Silicon Labs' website at www.silabs.com in advance of the conference call.

Conference call date: December 8, 2017
Time: 7:30 am Central (8:30 am Eastern)
Dial in Number: US (866) 395-9486, International (706) 634-9315
Conference ID: 7249429

A replay of the call will be available for one week by dialing (855) 859-2056 or (404) 537-3406 (international) and entering conference ID 7249429. A webcast of the conference call will also be available in the “Investors” section of Silicon Labs' website at www.silabs.com.

Silicon Labs

Silicon Labs (NASDAQ: SLAB) is a leading provider of silicon, software and solutions for a smarter, more connected world. Our award-winning technologies are shaping the future of the Internet of Things, Internet infrastructure, industrial automation, consumer and automotive markets. Our world-class engineering team creates products focused on performance, energy savings, connectivity and simplicity. www.silabs.com

Sigma Designs

Sigma Designs, Inc.® (NASDAQ: SIGM) is a world leader in enabling smart home convergence. The company designs and builds semiconductor technologies for Internet of Things (IoT) smart home devices. For more information about Sigma Designs, please visit: www.sigmadesigns.com.


Z-Wave® technology is an open, internationally recognized ITU standard (G.9959). It is one of the leading wireless smart home technologies in the market today, with over 2,100 certified interoperable products worldwide. Represented by the Z-Wave Alliance and supported by more than 600 companies around the world, the standard is a key enabler of smart living solutions for home safety and security, energy, hospitality, office and light commercial applications.

Z-Wave® is a registered trademark of Sigma Designs (NASDAQ: SIGM) and its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries. z-wave.sigmadesigns.com 

About the Author

Julie Jacobson
Julie Jacobson:

Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson




IoTMergers and AcquisitionsSigma DesignsThreadZ-WaveZigBee