A new giant
According to recent Gartner figures, Renesas is the seventh biggest semiconductor vendor in the world and NEC Electronics is the tenth. Today they announced a merger which will create the third largest semiconductor vendor behind only Intel and Samsung.
Both companies are strong in the field of System-on-Chips (SoCs), which are mini computers found embedded in a wide variety of electronic devices. NEC Electronics focuses on the consumer electronics market, while Renesas, which was formed as a joint venture between Hitachi and Mitsubishi Electric in 2003, is strong in the mobile phone and automotive markets.
The merger is not a done deal. As seems to be the norm in Japan, the announcement was nuanced. The two companies "today agreed to enter into negotiations to integrate business operations," according to the press release. It goes on to say that they plan to sign an agreement at the end of July 2009 and to integrate the businesses on 1 April 2010.
The merged company is expected to be easily the biggest in the microcontroller market, dwarfing its nearest rival Freescale.