Transphorm and Fujitsu to Integrate GaN Power Device Businesses

December 01, 2013 by Jeff Shepard

Fujitsu Limited, Fujitsu Semiconductor Limited, and Transphorm, Inc. have reached an agreement whereby Fujitsu Semiconductor and Transphorm will integrate their gallium-nitride (GaN) power devices businesses. This integration is expected to improve the market competitiveness of Transphorm's GaN power device business. The three companies have also agreed that both Fujitsu and Fujitsu Semiconductor will take a minority equity position in Transphorm. Fujitsu, Fujitsu Semiconductor and Transphorm believe that bringing together their complementary strengths in technology and manufacturing will enable superior GaN power device solutions to be delivered quickly to the market with both scale and affordability.

Fujitsu and Fujitsu Semiconductor will establish a new company in Japan for the GaN power device business, and will transfer to the new company their combined design and development assets as well as intellectual property rights in GaN power devices. The two companies will make an in-kind investment in Transphorm in the form of the new company's shares, and will receive an equivalent value of shares in Transphorm in return. As a result of this transaction, the new company will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Transphorm.

In addition, Fujitsu and Fujitsu Semiconductor will make an investment in Transphorm and will contribute to Transphorm's management in their roles as minority shareholders. The employees at Fujitsu and Fujitsu Semiconductor who are directly involved in the GaN power device business will be reassigned to the new company, where they will continue development and production work with Transphorm's employees. After the integration, Transphorm will continue R&D work at both its prototyping line in the US as well as Fujitsu Semiconductor's Aizu-Wakamatsu plant, which will be under exclusive contract with Transphorm to handle wafer processing. Transphorm and Fujitsu Semiconductor intend to build a global market by generating synergies from bringing together their marketing, customer support, and applications development capabilities.

In a statement to PowerPulse, a representative from Transphorm observed, “This release by Fujitsu and Transphorm does three things that are important for PowerPulse readers: It once again validates the technical strength of the Transphorm GaN solutions because a very knowledgeable competitor is acknowledging the superiority of the Transphorm products. It now provides Transphorm with high-volume production capacity to meet customer’s growing demand. And it adds the Fujitsu engineering expertise (both engineers and patents) to that of Transphorm to make Transphorm even stronger: If you looked at Fujitsu in the past, you would see that they have 200V e-mode GaN devices to complement the 600V devices from Transphorm which are now all part of Transphorm.

“In addition to the above, Fujitsu is also a very large consumer of power devices, who can lead the growing demand for higher efficiency GaN devices for power conversion. In summary this is a very positive announcement for both Transphorm and the GaN industry,” the statement concluded.

"Integrating Transphorm's operations with Fujitsu will enable high-volume and high-performance GaN power device production at Aizu-Wakamatsu, and we will also benefit from Fujitsu's strong technological capabilities underpinned by Fujitsu Groups' years of developments in the field of GaN power device. In addition to being a future user for GaN solutions, Fujitsu has also built customer relationships with many power management companies in Japan, one of the most important markets for Transphorm. These complementary strengths will enable us to become the world leader in the GaN power conversion business and allow our customers to use our GaN power solutions with confidence," stated Transphorm's CEO Fumihide Esaka.

"This business integration, together with our contribution to Transphorm's management as a minority shareholder, will enable Fujitsu to meet Transphorm's needs by offering low-cost volume production, highly reliable technologies, and quality assurance methodologies. This collaboration will greatly accelerate the introduction and market share expansion of Transphorm's GaN power devices. While making efforts to promote the innovative value of more compact and exceptionally efficient power supply which only GaN technologies can provide, Fujitsu will aggressively work to embed GaN power devices into Fujitsu products as one component of our energy-saving solutions. Our work in the GaN RF device business continues to move forward, as does our drive to conduct advanced research on GaN devices and applied development of RF and power supply modules," commented Masami Yamamoto, Fujitsu’s President.

"From 2009, Fujitsu Semiconductor has moved forward on developing the mass production technology needed to bring GaN power devices to market, and at the end of 2011 began sample shipments of GaN power devices with 600 V breakdown voltage, followed by 150 V breakdown voltage GaN devices in July of this year. We have positioned GaN power devices as one of our future core products for the Aizu-Wakamatsu plant. The integration announced today will enable us to collaborate with Transphorm and leverage their technologies to accelerate the drive to mass production, and, we anticipate, contribute to the vitality of the Aizu-Wakamatsu region. With our track record and capabilities to mass produce silicon devices that meet the stringent quality requirements of customers in automotive, industrial equipment and other industries, the Aizu-Wakamatsu plant will also be able to offer GaN power devices that customers can purchase with confidence," concluded Haruki Okada, President of Fujitsu Semiconductor.