Apple chip firm not worried

When Apple dropped Imagination Technologies as a supplier for iPhone technology, the British chip designer’s shares plunged up to 69% and the company ultimately accepted a buyout.

However, fellow UK firm Dialog Semiconductor, which relies on Apple for about three-quarters of its revenue, isn’t worried.

Following strong third-quarter earnings, Dialog chief executive Jalal Bagherli has dismissed concerns, saying his company and Imagination have little in common other than sharing similar customers.

“If someone were to not use us, they’d have to create 1,000 highly-skilled power management engineers to really replicate what we do,” Mr Bagherli said.

He said this is in contrast to Imagination, which designs technology for customers to manufacture themselves, rather than being a supplier of usable components.

The semiconductor industry has seen much consolidation over the past two years and the UK has been a notable target.

In addition to Imagination’s sale, chip designer ARM Holdings was snapped up by SoftBank for £24bn (€27.5bn).

Dutch chipmaker NXP Semiconductors is the target of what was once the industry’s biggest-ever deal when Qualcomm proposed a $47bn buyout in November last year. Qualcomm itself this week received an unsolicited $105bn bid from Broadcom.

Mr Bagherli doesn’t see the latter acquisition posing a significant threat to Dialog.

“They’re primarily digital companies so really they’re not in areas where they impact our business directly,” he said .

“If they pull that off it creates a very large semiconductor company that competes at a much more significant level with established players like Intel,” he said.

The CEO also said his company’s $276m acquisition of US startup Silego Technology was completed this month, and is forecast to increase 15% next year as Dialog makes a bigger push into the connected devices, or internet of things market.

“From a diversification point of view, our strategy is working,” Mr Bagherli said.

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