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Wolfspeed, Inc.
Company typePublic
Founded1987; 37 years ago (1987)
HeadquartersResearch Triangle Park, North Carolina
ProductsWide-bandgap semiconductors
RevenueIncrease US$922 million (2023)
Decrease −US$381 million (2023)
Decrease −US$330 million (2023)
Total assetsIncrease US$6.59 billion (2023)
Total equityDecrease US$1.62 billion (2023)
Number of employees
4,802 (2023)
Footnotes / references

Wolfspeed, Inc. is an American developer and manufacturer of wide-bandgap semiconductors, focused on silicon carbide and gallium nitride materials and devices for power and radio frequency applications such as transportation, power supplies, power inverters, and wireless systems. The company was formerly named Cree, Inc.[1]


XLamp 7090 XR-E Q4
9.5 watt 800 lumen dimmable lamp bulb, with 2700 K color temperature, introduced in March 2013

The company was founded in July 1987 in Durham, North Carolina. Five of the six founders – Neal Hunter, Thomas Coleman, John Edmond, Eric Hunter, John Palmour, and Calvin Carter – are graduates of North Carolina State University.[2]

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. 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 silicon carbide. The research team devised a way to grow silicon crystals in the laboratory, and in 1987 founded the company to produce SiC to be used commercially in both semiconductors and lighting.[3]

In 1989, the company introduced the first blue LED, enabling the development of large, full-color video screens and billboards.[4]

In 1991, the company released the first commercial silicon carbide wafer.[5]

In 1993, the company became a public company via an initial public offering.[6]

In 1999, the company name was changed from Cree Research to Cree, Inc.[7]

In 2011, the company acquired Ruud Lighting for $525 million.[8]

In August 2011, the company announced the XLamp XT-E Royal Blue LED for use in remote phosphor lighting.[9]

In 2013, the company's first consumer products, two household LED bulbs, qualified for Energy Star rating by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.[10]

In July 2016, Infineon Technologies agreed to acquire the company's Wolfspeed RF and power electronics devices unit for $850 million. However, the deal was terminated in February 2017 due to regulators’ national security concerns.[11]

In March 2018, the company acquired the RF Power Business Infineon Technologies AG's for €345 million.[12]

In May 2019, the company sold its Lighting Products division (now branded as Cree Lighting) to Ideal Industries.[13]

In September 2019, the company announced a $1 billion investment in a semiconductor manufacturing plant in Marcy, New York to build the world’s largest silicon carbide fabrication facility with a $500 million grant from New York State.[14][15][16]

In March 2021, the company sold its LED Business to SMART Global Holdings for up to $300 million.[17]

Cree Inc. logo, used prior to the October 2021 rebranding.

In October 2021, the company changed its name to Wolfspeed.[18]

In April 2022, the Marcy, New York, facility opened.[19] New York Governor Kathy Hochul[20] and US Senator Chuck Schumer[19] spoke at the event.

In November 2022, the company announced that co-founder and Chief Technology Officer John Palmour had died.[21]

In February 2023 it announced it would build its first European factory in Germany.[22] It is supposed to be on the site of a former coal plant in Ensdorf, Saarland with ZF Friedrichshafen as a coinvestor and susidized by the EU as an important project of common European interest (IPCEI) for Microelectronics and Communication Technologies.[23]

In August 2023, it was announced the Lowell-headquartered semiconductor company, MACOM had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Wolfspeed's RF business.[24]


On October 13, 2022 a facilities electrician was electrocuted at the Wolfspeed Research Triangle Park in Durham, North Carolina. The incident sparked a state investigation into his death as well as public concern for the company's poor work safety record.[25] In the past 10 years, state Department of Labor investigations into the company have uncovered 17 workplace safety violations, including six serious violations.[26] It is worth noting that during this same time period, the Raleigh NC OSHA office completed over 5,400 investigations that resulted in one or more violations for hundreds of other local companies.[27]


  1. ^ a b "Wolfspeed, Inc. 2023 Form 10-K Annual Report". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. August 23, 2023.
  2. ^ Smith, Rick (July 2, 2007). "'50 Who Matter' Media Spotlight Shines on Cree Co-Founder". WRAL-TV.
  3. ^ Palmour, John (August 24, 2017). "30 years later: A tech founder's perspective on what it takes to disrupt markets". LinkedIn.
  4. ^ Shih, Willy (October 4, 2021). "Cree Becomes Wolfspeed, GM Deal Signals The Coming End Of The ICE Age". Forbes.
  5. ^ "SILICON CARBIDE: SMALLER, FASTER, TOUGHER". Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. September 27, 2011.
  6. ^ Ohnesorge, Lauren (July 13, 2012). "Now 25, Cree Inc. closes in on $1B threshold". American City Business Journals.
  7. ^ "Cree proposes a public offering, changes name". American City Business Journals. January 3, 2000.
  8. ^ Burke, Michael (August 17, 2011). "Ruud Lighting acquired for $525 million". Racine Journal Times.
  9. ^ "Cree Launches New High-Performance XLamp® XT-E Royal Blue LED and Patent Licensing Program for Remote Phosphor Applications" (Press release). Business Wire. August 2, 2011.
  10. ^ Funk, John (October 10, 2013). "Cree's LED bulb now Energy Star, qualifies for up to $5 price cut". The Plain Dealer.
  11. ^ Armental, Maria (February 16, 2017). "Cree and Infineon Call Off Wolfspeed Deal". The Wall Street Journal.
  12. ^ "Cree acquires Infineon RF Power Business" (Press release). Infineon Technologies. March 6, 2018.
  13. ^ "Cree Closes on the Sale of Cree Lighting to IDEAL INDUSTRIES, Inc" (Press release). Wolfspeed. May 13, 2019.
  14. ^ Young, Liz (September 23, 2019). "$1 billion semiconductor plant to be built in Mohawk Valley". American City Business Journals.
  15. ^ Rulison, Larry (September 23, 2019). "Cree plans $1B semiconductor plant in Marcy". Times Union.
  16. ^ Moriarty, Rick (September 23, 2019). "Cree to build $1 billion silicon carbide wafer plant near Utica; state gives $500 million grant". The Post-Standard.
  17. ^ "Cree Completes Sale of its LED Business to SMART Global Holdings, Inc" (Press release). Business Wire. March 1, 2021.
  18. ^ "Wolfspeed To Transfer to the New York Stock Exchange and Trade Under New Ticker Symbol "WOLF"; To Host Investor Day in NYC on Wednesday, Nov. 17" (Press release). Business Wire. September 16, 2021.
  19. ^ a b Colon, Shayla (April 25, 2022). "Wolfspeed opens Mohawk Valley chip fab". Times Union (Albany). Retrieved May 16, 2022.
  20. ^ Zeeberg, Amos (May 16, 2022). "What's Down the Road for Silicon?". The New York Times. Retrieved May 16, 2022.
  21. ^ "Wolfspeed co-founder John Palmour, lifelong NC State fan, dies". www.bizjournals.com. Retrieved 2022-11-16.
  22. ^ Eddy, Melissa (2023-03-27). "Germany Wants More Chip Makers, but They Won't Come Cheap". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-03-28.
  23. ^ "Wolfspeed Announces Plan to Construct World's Largest, Most Advanced Silicon Carbide Device Manufacturing Facility in Saarland, Germany". www.wolfspeed.com. 2023-02-01. Retrieved 2023-03-28.
  24. ^ Joosting, Jean-Pierre (2023-08-22). "MACOM agrees to acquire the RF Business of Wolfspeed". eeNews Europe. Retrieved 2023-08-22.
  25. ^ Gordon, Brian (2022-10-19). "After Wolfspeed worker killed on job, NC labor department opens investigation". The News & Observer. Retrieved 2023-02-05.
  26. ^ "Establishment Search Results". OSHA. Retrieved 2023-02-05.
  27. ^ "Establishment Search Results". OSHA. 2023-03-07. Retrieved 2023-03-07.

External links[edit]

  • Official website
  • Business data for Wolfspeed, Inc.:
  • Gereffi, Gary; Ahmed, Ghada; Lowe, Marcy (October 22, 2010). "Case Study: Cree, Inc. Local Markets and Global Competitiveness: A Value Chain Analysis". Center on Globization, Governance, & Competitiveness (CGGC). Duke University. Archived (PDF) from the original on November 29, 2015.
  • Official opening ceremony of upstate NY Fab.