Remember Fairchild? It's still around, and worth $2.4bn in takeover cash

That whirring sound is William Shockley spinning in his grave

Fairchild logo

Fairchild Semiconductor, a company synonymous with the rise of Silicon Valley, has agreed to a $2.4bn acquisition offer.

Arizona-based ON Semiconductor said it would pay $20 per share in an all-cash offer to acquire Fairchild and create a combined company targeting the mobile, automotive and industrial chip markets.

"The combination of ON Semiconductor and Fairchild creates a power semiconductor leader with strong capabilities in a rapidly consolidating semiconductor industry," ON CEO Keith Jackson said in announcing the deal.

"Our plan is to bring together two companies with complementary product lines to offer customers the full spectrum of high, medium and low voltage products."

Fairchild traces its storied history back to 1957, when the "Traitorous Eight" group of Gordon Moore, Robert Noyce, Eugene Kleiner, Jay Last, C. Sheldon Roberts, Victor Grinich, Julius Blank, and Jean Hoerni defected from Shockley Semiconductor to start a new company focused on the production of silicon transistors.

The startup was soon given a $1.5m backing by Fairchild Camera and Instrument and would go on to help develop early designs for transistors, integrated circuits and fabrication technologies.

The eight rogue engineers who started the company, meanwhile, would play critical roles in creating the IT industry as we know it. Co-founders Noyce and Moore would go on to found Intel, while Eugene Kleiner would start venture capital giant Kleiner Perkins and Roberts, Hoerni, and Last launched the company now known as Teledyne.

Since its founding, Fairchild Semiconductor has been acquired twice (first by Schlumberger Limited in 1979, then by National Semiconductor in 1987) and re-launched in 1997 as an independent company.

"As part of ON Semiconductor, Fairchild will continue to pioneer technology and design innovation in efficient energy consumption to help our customers achieve success and drive value for our partners and employees around the world," Fairchild CEO Mark Thompson said of the deal.

"We look forward to working closely with the ON Semiconductor team to ensure a smooth transition.”

ON Semiconductor said it expects this latest acquisition to be completed by the end of the second quarter (late June) of 2016. Both companies' boards have approved the deal and no further shareholder approval will be needed.

Word of the deal boosted Fairchild shares from $17.88 to a high of $19.56 in trading. ®

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