The hindsight is easy. ADI, Maxim and Linear Technology closed today a P/E premium 30-300% compared to National. Over the past eight years, National refocused on margins over top-line growth and shed many their less profitable endeavors. TI and National have highly compatible business and technology cultures, where the second generation analog companies like Maxim and Linear could be very difficult to integrate.
I'm a bit of a broken record on the point, but the semiconductor industry is now 50 years old and consolidation will be a strategic play throughout the supply chain, from wafer fabrication all the way through distribution and logistics. In the analog space, I own Intersil due to their technology, team and chosen markets and have long advocated that someone buy Micrel and tug that company out of the 1980's and into the new millennium. I don't bet on M&A plays, but for the under appreciated analog companies wallowing at P/E's below 15, this news will be a welcomed boost!