Cree expects to spend the next six months after the sale of its Wolfspeed division to Infineon Technologies closes working through the transition. But by 2017 it will to be on the way to a Cree 3.0 focusing on its LED lighting business, Cree chair and CEO Chuck Swoboda says.

Then it will likely look for merger and acquisition targets that will soak up some of the cash from the $850 million sale of Wolfspeed to Infineon (announced early Thursday) and accelerate the growth of its LED business, Swoboda told WRAL Techwire following a press conference about the deal.

“2017 will probably be the first opportunity for us to look at those merger and acquisition opportunities,” Swoboda said.

Cree previously announced its intention to focus on the LED lighting business, and considered an IPO spinout of its Wolfspeed division.

  • More coverage: Details of impact on Wolfspeed, including local jobs.)

The sale to Infineon, something of a sweetheart deal for both companies, puts technologies Cree has worked on since its founding 30 years ago in good hands, Swoboda said.

Some of its advanced, innovative semiconductor and power technologies are considered crucial for automotive, communications, and clean, efficient energy products on drawing boards and in engineering pipelines.

Reinhard Ploss, CEO of Infineon Technologies, said during the Thursday morning press conference that he had been confident his company would win in the bidding for Wolfspeed, “because we had the most to gain.”

Cree currently has about 6500 employees globally with approximately 2500 in the Triangle.