Power

The Big Story

A big bet on chips for cars

Protocol's Shakeel Hashim writes: Analog Devices announced Monday that it's acquiring competitor Maxim Integrated for $21 billion, the biggest U.S. merger announced so far this year.

Both Analog and Maxim make analog semiconductors: chips that take real-world inputs — like sound, light and pressure — and turn them into digital signals that a computer can use. Increased demand for smarter infrastructure and devices, from factories to cars, is driving demand for those chips.

  • The automotive market appears to be a particular driver of this deal. Maxim is strong in the segment, while Analog CEO Vincent Roche confessed that this is a market where Analog has underperformed. Buying Maxim is an easy way to fix that.
  • The two companies also have complementary regional profiles. While Analog is heavily reliant on Western markets, Maxim derives the vast majority of its revenue from Asia, and particularly China. With the Asian market constantly growing in importance, Maxim's customer relationships there could help Analog increase sales for its products in the region, too.

As is often the case with big deals like this, Analog claims it can achieve $275 million worth of cost synergies within two years of the transaction closing, driven by manufacturing efficiencies and lower sales costs.

But this doesn't seem like a purely financial deal. Roche highlighted how tough the competition for hardware talent is right now, with engineers increasingly choosing to go into software instead. By taking a competitor out of the market, Analog hopes that it will be easier to attract top talent.

Fintech

The crypto crash's violence shocked Circle's CEO

Jeremy Allaire remains upbeat about stablecoins despite the UST wipeout, he told Protocol in an interview.

Allaire said what really caught him by surprise was “how fast the death spiral happened and how violent of a value destruction it was.”

Photo: Heidi Gutman/CNBC/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire said he saw the UST meltdown coming about six months ago, long before the stablecoin crash rocked the crypto world.

“This was a house of cards,” he told Protocol. “It was very clear that it was unsustainable and that there would be a very high risk of a death spiral.”

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Benjamin Pimentel

Benjamin Pimentel ( @benpimentel) covers crypto and fintech from San Francisco. He has reported on many of the biggest tech stories over the past 20 years for the San Francisco Chronicle, Dow Jones MarketWatch and Business Insider, from the dot-com crash, the rise of cloud computing, social networking and AI to the impact of the Great Recession and the COVID crisis on Silicon Valley and beyond. He can be reached at bpimentel@protocol.com or via Google Voice at (925) 307-9342.

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Nat Rubio-Licht

Nat Rubio-Licht is a Los Angeles-based news writer at Protocol. They graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in newspaper and online journalism in May 2020. Prior to joining the team, they worked at the Los Angeles Business Journal as a technology and aerospace reporter.

Enterprise

Celonis vows to stay independent despite offers from SAP, ServiceNow

Celonis is convinced standalone mining vendors can survive. But industry consolidation paints a different picture, and enterprise software giants are circling.

Celonis CEO Alex Rinke turned down offers from ServiceNow and SAP, according to sources.

Photo: Celonis

For the past decade, any software vendor that touted new levels of automation and data-driven insights appeared to have seemingly unrestricted access to capital. Now, as valuations drop and fundraising becomes more difficult, founders and company leaders are facing a difficult decision: look to be acquired or try to go it alone.

At Celonis — which, at an $11 billion valuation, is one of the buzzier software upstarts — that question appears to have already been decided. Enterprise software giants ServiceNow and SAP made offers in the past year to buy the process-mining firm, according to sources familiar with the deliberations, which were turned down because the Celonis leadership team wanted to remain independent.

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Joe Williams

Joe Williams is a writer-at-large at Protocol. He previously covered enterprise software for Protocol, Bloomberg and Business Insider. Joe can be reached at JoeWilliams@Protocol.com. To share information confidentially, he can also be contacted on a non-work device via Signal (+1-309-265-6120) or JPW53189@protonmail.com.

Enterprise

SaaS valuations cratered in early 2022. But these startups thrived.

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While private equity has been investing in enterprise tech for decades, the confluence of several trends in the sector is making it more competitive than ever before.
Image: Getty Images; Protocol

Despite a volatile tech stock market so far this year that has included delayed IPOs, lowered valuations and declining investor sentiment, a few enterprise tech categories managed to keep getting funding. Data platforms, supply chain management tech, workplace software and cybersecurity startups all dominated the funding cycle over the past quarter.

When it comes to enterprise SaaS, the number of mega-deals — VC funding rounds over $100 million — spiked last year, according to data from Pitchbook. Partially driven by the onset of a pandemic that accelerated the need for everything from contact centers to supply chains to move into the cloud, the number of large VC deals tripled between 2020 and 2021. That growth has extended into this year, where the number of mega-deals has already outpaced all of 2020.

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Aisha Counts

Aisha Counts (@aishacounts) is a reporter at Protocol covering enterprise software. Formerly, she was a management consultant for EY. She's based in Los Angeles and can be reached at acounts@protocol.com.

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