Cree selling LED business to focus on SiC and GaN devices and materials


“We are pleased to announce the sale of our LED products business to Smart, which represents another milestone in our journey to create a pure-play global semiconductor powerhouse,” said Cree CEO Gregg Lowe. “This transaction positions us with a strategic focus to lead the industry transition from silicon to silicon carbide and further strengthens our financial position, which will support continued investments to capitalise on multi-decade growth opportunities across electric vehicle, 5G and industrial applications.”

As well as LEDs, Cree is responsible for ‘Wolfspeed’ branded products include silicon carbide materials, power-switching devices and RF devices.

As well as SiC devices and materials, Cree said that after the sale it will also concentrate on gallium nitride devices and materials.

Under the terms of the agreement, which has been approved by Cree’s board of directors, Cree expects to receive an initial cash payment of $50m upon closing and $125m to be paid upon maturity of a seller note issued by Smart to Cree due August 2023. Cree also has the potential to receive an earn-out payment of up to $125m based on the revenue and gross profit performance of Cree LED in the first full four quarters post-transaction close, also payable in the form of a three-year seller note.

Smart makes speciality memory, storage and high-performance computing product “serving the electronics industry for over 30 years”, according to Cree.

“We are thrilled to welcome Cree LED to the Smart family,” said Smart president ad CEO Mark Adams. “With a highly respected brand and expansive patent portfolio, Cree has a track record of delivering best-in-class solutions and I am excited about the opportunities that lie ahead for Cree LED as part of the Smart portfolio of products.”

The transaction is subject to required regulatory approvals and satisfaction of closing conditions, and is scheduled to close in the first calendar quarter of 2021. Following the closing of the transaction, Smart will license and incorporate the Cree LED brand name into the Smart portfolio of businesses.