onsemi Recalibrates Its Mission Through Rebranding and a SiC Acquisition

August 31, 2021 by Jake Hertz

It's never too late to get a fresh start and rethink where you're going. Doing just that, onsemi (previously ON Semiconductor) is focusing on rebranding and pushing for more SiC tech with a recent acquisition.

Around since 1999, On Semiconductor began as a discrete component spinoff of Motorola. While roughly 20 years may not seem that long; however, it can seem like an eternity in the technology industry. This rapidly evolving field can put immense pressure on companies: either you keep up or get left behind. There are a few ways to keep up with the pressure, one is to acquire other companies, and thus their technology, and another is a rebrand. 


A graph showing twenty years of semiconductor acquisitions.

A graph showing twenty years of semiconductor acquisitions. Image used courtesy of Bloomberg


With this in mind, On Semiconductor has decided it needs a rebranding, a fresh look, and some new direction. The first step in this process came earlier this month, when the company transitioned to a new, edgier name, now simply onsemi. Beyond a mere marketing scheme, onsemi is looking to change the company direction as well. 

This article will discuss its rebranding and how recent moves align with its new company compass, including a new acquisition.  


Time for a Change

The quest to stay relevant in tech is a hard one that generally consists of two equally important components: the brand image and the technology produced. The first step in onsemi's change focuses on brand image. 

Beyond just the name change, the company has new goals, direction, and a newly minted tagline that expresses these things better. The new company tagline "Intelligent Technology. Better Future." may seem trivial, but it succinctly reflects its newfound goals. 

From this point onward, onsemi's new goals include becoming a leading smart power and sensing technologies provider. Within this, they hope to focus on today's hot issues, including automotive, vehicle electrification, advanced safety, alternative energy, and factory automation. 

Hassane El-Khoury, onsemi's CEO, talks about sustainability and making the world a better place. He mentions how onsemi is creating intelligent power and sensing technologies. With these technologies, they want to enable their customers' success by driving a better future for the next generation and creating value for our shareholders. 


Acquisition of GT Advanced Technologies 

With brand image covered, the second step in onsemi’s transition is improving the technology they produce. To this end, they recently announced that they finalized an acquisition of GT Advanced Technologies (GTAT), a producer of SiC substrates, for $415 million cash. 


GTAT, a new acquisition by onsemi, produces SiC with a focus on EV and EV charging.

GTAT, a new acquisition by onsemi, produces SiC with a focus on EV and EV charging. Image used courtesy of GTAT


Acquisitions are typically a way to refresh and get new tech into a company; they can also take the place of R&D in some cases. As for the case with onsemi, there are many reasons why this acquisition makes sense and why it aligns with its newfound company goals. 

SiC is a wide-bandgap semiconductor with high thermal conductivity and a critical breakdown field. The result of these features is that it is a significantly better solution for high-power electronic solutions than standard silicon. SiC has found itself particularly important in applications like EVs and EV charging infrastructure


SiC vs. GaN vs. silicon.

SiC vs. GaN vs. silicon. Image used courtesy of Graham Lab and Georgia Tech


The goal of this transaction, from onsemi's perspective, is to secure and grow its supply of SiC offerings, with an explicit focus on sustainability and power. 

In the context of its rebranding, this acquisition makes a lot of sense since the company is trying to position itself to be a leader in up-in-coming fields like EVs with an explicit focus on sustainability. 


Looking Forward 

Overall, for a company to successfully rebrand itself in the tech space, it needs to improve its brand image and technological offerings. After doing just that, onsemi proves it wants to increase its focus in both of these departments, and, from an outside perspective, the results look promising.

It will be interesting to see where onsemi goes from here, especially after adding to its SiC resources. 



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