Cree Inc.

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Cree, Inc.
Traded as
HeadquartersResearch Triangle Park, North Carolina, United States
ProductsLight-emitting diodes
RevenueIncrease US $1.080 billion (2019)
Increase US $925 million (2018) [1]
US$124 million (Fiscal Year 2014)[2]
Number of employees

Cree, Inc. is an American manufacturer and marketer of lighting-class LEDs, lighting products, and products for power and radio frequency (RF) applications. Most of its products are based on silicon carbide (SiC), a mineral compound which early Cree researchers successfully synthesized in a laboratory.


Cree's high-power LEDs, XLamp 7090 XR-E Q4
A Cree 9.5 watt 800 lumen dimmable lamp bulb, with 2700 K color temperature, introduced in March 2013

Cree was founded in July 1987 in Durham, North Carolina. Five of the six founders – Thomas Coleman, John Edmond, Eric Hunter, John Palmour and Calvin Carter – are graduates of North Carolina State University.[4]

In 1983, the founders – one a research assistant professor and the others student researchers – were seeking ways to leverage the properties of silicon carbide to enable semiconductors to operate at higher operating temperatures and power levels.[4] They also knew silicon carbide could serve as the diode in light-emitting diode (LED) lighting, a light source first demonstrated in 1907 with an electrically-charged diode of SiC.

The research team devised a way to grow silicon crystals in the laboratory, and in 1987 founded a company, Cree Research, Inc., to produce SiC and exploit its usage commercially in both semiconductors and lighting. The founders raised money to establish office and laboratory facilities and entered a period of steady technological advancements.[4]

In 1989, the company introduced the world's first blue LED, which enabled the development of large, full-color video screens and billboards.[4]

In 1991, Cree released the world's first commercial silicon carbide wafer.[4]

In 1993, Cree launched an initial public offering.

In 1999, the company name was changed from Cree Research to Cree, Inc.[5]

In 2011 Cree acquired Ruud Lighting, a national firm experienced in the use of LED for outdoor lighting. This expanded Cree sales channels and led to a new generation of lighting-class LED components.[6]

In 2012 Cree announced the XLamp XT-E, which was claimed to deliver twice as much light for the same price as older LEDs.[7]

In 2013, Cree's first consumer products, two household LED bulbs qualified for Energy Star rating by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.[8]

In July 2016, German chip maker Infineon Technologies AG said it agreed to buy Cree's Wolfspeed business unit (RF and power electronics devices) for $850 million in cash.[9] However, the deal was called off in February 2017 after the companies were unable to resolve regulators’ national security concerns.[10]

In March 2018, Cree announced the acquisition of Infineon Technologies AG's RF Power Business for €345 million.[11]

In May 2019, Cree Inc. closed on the sale of their Cree Lighting Products division to Ideal Industries Inc.[12]

In October 2020, Cree Inc. closed on the sale of their LED Business to SMART Global Holdings for up to $300 million.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Garrabrant, Raiford (2015-05-05). "Cree Reports Financial Results for the Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year 2014" (PDF). Cree. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-03.
  3. ^ "2015 Annual Report" (PDF). Annual reports. Cree. Retrieved 2016-05-27.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ a b c d e "Creating CREE". NC State Engineering Magazine (Spring 2010). 2010. Archived from the original on 2014-01-15. Retrieved 2016-05-27.
  5. ^ "Cree proposes a public offering, changes name". Triangle Business Journal. Raleigh, NC: American City Business Journals. 2000-01-03. Retrieved 2016-05-27.
  6. ^ Wright, Maury (2011-08-01). "Cree acquires lighting manufacturer Ruud and BetaLED subsidiary". LEDs Magazine. Retrieved 2016-05-27.
  7. ^ Ranii, David (2012-02-08). "Cree launches another lower-cost LED". The News & Observer. Archived from the original on April 4, 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-08.
  8. ^ Funk, John (October 10, 2013). "Cree's LED bulb now Energy Star, qualifies for up to $5 price cut". The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer. Retrieved 2013-10-10.
  9. ^ By Friedrich Geiger and Eyk Henning, Wall Street Journal. "Infineon to Buy Cree's Wolfspeed Unit for $850 Million ." July 14, 2016.
  10. ^ Armental, Maria (2017-02-16). "Cree and Infineon Call Off Wolfspeed Deal". WSJ. Retrieved 2017-06-08.
  11. ^ "Cree Acquires Infineon's RF Business for €345 Million". everything RF.
  12. ^ "Cree Closes on the Sale of Cree Lighting to IDEAL INDUSTRIES, Inc". Retrieved 2020-01-01.
  13. ^ "SMART Global Holdings to Acquire Cree's LED Business". Retrieved 2020-10-19.

External links[edit]