Cork-based driverless car tech firm Sensl gears up for €70m sale to ON Semiconductor

'Cork-based driverless car tech firm Sensl gears up for €70m sale to ON Semiconductor' image

ON Semiconductor, a $10bn (€8.5bn) Nasdaq-listed tech group, is paying up to €70m to buy Sensl Technologies, a small Cork company whose sensors are used in driverless cars.

The deal was announced earlier this month but the financial terms were not disclosed. Tech sources said ON Semiconductor was paying €60m-€70m cash for Sensl, which was founded in 2004. The takeover will deliver a significant return for Sensl's shareholders, which include Irish venture capitalists Delta Partners and the AIB Seed Capital Fund

SensL sale to ON SemiconductorDelta was an early investor in Sensl and was its largest shareholder, while the AIB Seed Capital Fund invested in the company more recently. Enterprise Ireland also backed the business.

Sensl was founded by its chief technology officer Carl Jackson and Joe O'Keeffe, who also founded and sold tech firm Infiniled. Its sensor technology has multiple uses but was attractive to ON Semiconductor because of its applications in driverless cars. ON Semiconductor has previously bought sensor companies in the UK and Israel. It is expected to invest in an expansion of the Sensl operation in Cork.

It is understood Sensl had raised about €11m in equity and convertible loan funding from investors since its foundation. The company employs 25 people and made a profit of almost €870,000 in 2016, according to its latest accounts. ON Semiconductor said the acquisition of Sensl would immediately boost its overall earnings.

Sensl chief executive Bryan Campbell previously founded Toucan Technology, which was bought by chip group PMC-Sierra, and Lightstorm Networks, which was bought by Broadcom Corp. It is understood that many of Sensl's staff were also shareholders in the company.

ON Semiconductor had revenues of $5.4bn last year.

Article courtesy The Sunday Times By Gavin Daly May 20, 2018