Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thoughts on the Freescale IPO

Bloomberg Businessweek published a solid summary of this week's Freescale IPO, but there is more to the story.  I have great respect for Rich Beyer leaving the comfort of Intersil and walking into the burning building in 2008, albeit with a outstanding compensation package averaging $5M cash per year plus equity, to rescue Freescale on behalf of their private equity investors.  The industry dominating business practices, technology innovation and quality that was Motorola Semiconductor of the 1980's died a horrible death in the 1990's and spawned On Semiconductor and Freescale in 1999 and 2004 respectively.  Both companies have had to navigate the semiconductor industry cycles with suffocating debt, and in the case of Freescale, fleeing talent, fleeing customers and collapsing markets. I've actively recruited engineers and business leaders away from Freescale over the past decade, but the well is nearly dry.  Those who are left acknowledge that they may be out of a job any day due to the relentless cutting, but they are generally unemployable elsewhere.

There is money to be made in all segments of the semiconductor industry, both as an employee and shareholder, but the Freescale story will continue to be one of gains driven by business and debt restructuring not from innovation or market disruption.

Good luck Rich!

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