June 4, 2015 / 6:10 PM / 3 years ago

Lattice Semiconductor open to sale for 'high premium': CEO

(Reuters) - Lattice Semiconductor Corp - one of just a handful of programmable-chip makers left after Intel Corp’s deal to buy Altera Corp - is open to a sale, but only for a bigger premium than that offered by Intel, CEO Darin Billerbeck said.

Billerbeck singled out Qualcomm Inc and Taiwan’s MediaTek Inc as good fits, but would not comment on whether Lattice was holding talks with either company.

“They see the flexibility we bring in ... but then there are also some of the communication guys, which see us pretty strong in programmability,” Billerbeck said in an interview.

Qualcomm and MediaTek could not immediately be reached.

Lattice, which has a market value of about $740 million, makes programmable logic chips and related software used in everything from smartphones to cars.

After the Intel-Altera deal, Lattice and Xilinx Inc are the only reasonably large standalone companies left in the programmable chip industry.

Lattice caters to the low-end of the market, while Xilinx focuses on higher-end products.

Intel, the world’s biggest chipmaker, agreed to buy Altera last week for $16.7 billion, or $54 per share.

That represented a premium of just 10.5 percent to Altera’s previous-day close, but was 56 percent more than the stock’s price before the Wall Street Journal reported in March that the two companies were in merger talks.

“If someone walks in the door and gives us a solid offer at a high premium we are going to consider it,” Billerbeck said.

FBR Capital analyst Christopher Rolland said Lattice was a “high probability acquisition target”.

“They are sub-scale and would earn far more under a larger company umbrella,” Rolland said.

Billerbeck said he did not think Lattice was an immediate takeover target, given the chip industry’s current focus on large acquisitions. “However, that can change rapidly,” he said.

Lattice, whose shares have fallen about 8 percent this year, reported revenue of about $366 million in 2014, an increase of about 10 percent. The stock was trading at $6.38 at midday on Thursday, up about 0.5 percent from Wednesday’s close.

Reporting By Lehar Maan in Bengaluru; Editing by Ted Kerr

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