In case you were wondering, the $2.4 billion merger between Fairchild Semiconductor and Phoenix-based ON Semiconductor is still seeking regulatory approval. ON’s offer of $20 per share has been extended multiple times since the deal was announced in November. The latest extension expires Thursday.

But the local chipmaker did get some good news recently. The company released updates to its USB-Type C controllers – devices made at its South Portland plant with the clunky name FUSB302 – that are being touted for their significant market advantages.

The updates address manufacturers’ concerns about changing specifications “so they can easily add the next generation of USB functionality to their smartphones, tablets, PCs and other mobile devices,” Myron Miske, Interface and Protection Product Line director at Fairchild, said in a media release. “The FUSB302’s combination of small size, low power consumption and ‘investment protection’ advantages have made it a popular solution used in many products shipping today.”

More than 500 people work at Fairchild’s plant on Western Avenue, part of the San Jose-based company’s Analog Power Signal and Solutions Division. They make analog switches, USB, converters and other building blocks of digital circuitry. The company sells components used in cars, smartphones, appliances and other consumer products.

When the deal was announced last fall, Keith Jackson, ON Semiconductors’ president and chief executive officer, told the Press Herald that his company and Fairchild’s product lines would complement each other, with “minimal” overlap. But some industry analysts think the age of the South Portland facility could make it a target for closure if the semiconductor industry continues to contract. In the most recent sales report issued by the Semiconductor Industry Association, U.S. manufacturers saw a 7.7 percent decline in sales from May 2015 to May 2016, while China saw a 3.1 percent market growth.

Clunky name or not, having an edge in the circuitry market can only help.



Speaking of jobs, people often ask me what’s the status of Gov. Paul LePage’s announcement in April that more than 900 (later amended to 1,500) good jobs in southern Maine were likely to leave the state this summer?

I wish I had a good answer.

We’ve been checking with the Maine Department of Labor nearly every day since LePage made his comments to see if any companies have filed WARN Acts. A company with more than 100 employees that intends to have mass layoffs must file a WARN Act notice 60 days in advance of the layoffs.

Three companies have filed a WARN Act notice since LePage made his forecast, including a Caribou call center, which in May said it was laying off 120 people, about a third of its workforce. Sitel, a customer service center, lost Comcast as a client, which prompted the layoffs. Keiser Homes in Oxford laid off about the same number of people in May after its bankrupt parent company liquidated. Also in May, a food vendor at Waterville’s Colby College lost its contract with the school and 146 workers were facing layoffs, although many were expected to be rehired by the new vendor.

Emails sent to the governor’s press secretary asking for an update on the governor’s prediction went unanswered.



If those Sitel folks were willing to relocate to the Brunswick area, they would likely find a hot market for customer service professionals. Two employers in Brunswick Landing issued a call for 700 new customer service hires this spring.

Home goods provider Wayfair announced it wanted to hire 500 people for a new customer service operation it was opening at Brunswick Landing (another 450 were being sought for a new Wayfair operation in Bangor).

A week later, Savilinx, a business outsourcing and technical support service provider, announced it needed to hire 200 people to staff an expansion because it landed a large contract. The deal extended the scope of the work that Savilinx provides for a New England-based insurance company, including quality monitoring and inbound phone inquiries.

At the end of July, Savilinx announced it was opening a new training facility in Mississippi and hired 75 new employees for that operation. But it has also hired about 130 new employees at Brunswick, more than halfway to its goal of 200.

Kate Margolis, a spokeswoman for Wayfair, said the company’s hiring is going very well and it is on track to meet its goal, although she declined to provide a specific number of new hires. The company held a job fair in Lewiston on Tuesday and plans another in Bangor on Aug. 9.


Business Editor Carol Coultas can be contacted at 791-6460 or at:

Twitter: carolacoultas

This story has been updated to include a response from Wayfair and to correct the number of WARN Act notices that have been issued since April.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.