Intel Corp. jumped into the consolidation wave sweeping the chip-making industry Monday by agreeing to buy Altera Corp. for $16.7 billion in cash.

The deal was not entirely surprising; there previously had been reports that Intel, headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif., and the nation’s largest chip-maker, was negotiating to acquire the much smaller Altera, based in San Jose, Calif., to boost its sales growth.

Growth in the entire industry has slowed, and that’s helping fuel the current round of merger deals. Last Thursday, Avago Technologies Ltd. agreed to buy Irvine, Calif.-based Broadcom Corp. for $37 billion in the largest merger in tech history.

Intel agreed to pay $54 a share for Altera, and the deal is subject to approval by Altera’s stockholders.

After the deal was announced, Altera’s stock jumped $2.96, or 6 percent, to $51.81 a share in early trading Monday on Wall Street.

Intel, a component of the Dow Jones industrial average, fell 37 cents to $34.09 a share.

With sales of nearly $56 billion last year, Intel is the leading producer of microprocessors used in personal computers and large-scale computer servers, making its chips the backbone of worldwide email and Web pages.

Altera specializes in designing so-called programmable semiconductors that can be tailored for specific uses by Altera’s customers, including those in the wireless, automotive and networking industries. Its sales last year were $1.9 billion.

Altera is among the chip designers that rely on outside manufacturers to produce most of its products. That includes Intel under a partnership the companies formed in 2013.

Having Altera in-house is part of Intel’s strategy “to expand our core assets into profitable, complimentary market segments,” Intel Chief Executive Brian Krzanich said in a statement.


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