iPhone supplier Foxconn to acquire IoT player Belkin for $866m

27 Mar 2018

Belkin iPhone stand. Image: Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Interesting acquisition by Foxconn will give it access to more than 700 Belkin patents.

Iconic US consumer electronics player Belkin – owner of the Linksys and Wemo brands – is to be acquired by iPhone supplier Foxconn for $866m.

In one of the biggest mergers and acquisitions in tech so far this year, Foxconn said that the move will give it access to Belkin’s substantial sales networks, technologies and production capabilities.

‘This move will accelerate our vision of delivering technology that makes the lives of people around the world better, more convenient and more fulfilling’

Future Human

Critically, Belkin has more than 700 patents that span speaker and audio products, wireless internet of things (IoT) home automation technologies and connectors.

Foxconn was established in 1974 and is the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer, responsible for manufacturing approximately 40pc of the world’s gadgets, including iPhone devices, and PlayStation and Xbox consoles.

It employs 1.3m workers worldwide and is headquartered in Taipei, Taiwan.

Smart home vision

Foxconn plans to establish a new smart home division combining Belkin’s Linksys and Wemo businesses with its own IoT assets.

“FIT [Foxconn Interconnect Technology] is excited to acquire Belkin and its capabilities in the premium consumer products space,” said Sidney Lu, CEO of FIT.

“Integrating Belkin’s best-in-class capabilities and solutions into FIT, we expect to enrich our portfolio of premium consumer products and accelerate our penetration into the smart home.”

The merger is subject to approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US.

However, the US appetite for approving the takeover of firms by Asian companies has not been great lately, with US president Donald Trump recently blocking the acquisition of Qualcomm by Singapore-based Broadcom.

This was largely driven by concerns that Asian tech companies such as Broadcom, Huawei and ZTE could surpass US firms in terms of wireless and 5G products.

This is despite the fact that the majority of smartphones carried by US citizens are made in locations that include Shenzhen in China as well as Taiwan and Malaysia.

Belkin was established in California in 1983 by Chet Pipkin to make connectors for Mac and PC devices, and has been a mainstay of the consumer electronics world ever since.

In 2013, Belkin acquired Cisco’s home networking division, which included the Linksys brand.

In recent weeks, chief marketing officer Kieran Hannon picked up the gong in the Connect category of the Valiente Awards at SXSW for his work as CMO of Belkin.

Post-acquisition, it is understood that Chet Pipkin will continue to lead the company as a subsidiary under FIT.

“This move will accelerate our vision of delivering technology that makes the lives of people around the world better, more convenient and more fulfilling,” Pipkin said. “I am thrilled to take our brand portfolio of Belkin, Linksys, Wemo and Phyn to new heights.

“We see significant synergies with FIT, including leveraging its world-class manufacturing capability to enhance Belkin’s operating efficiency and competitiveness. The transaction also grants us access to more resources to invest in our people and to aggressively pursue opportunities in the marketplace,” Pipkin said.

Belkin iPhone stand. Image: Africa Studio/Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years