By Nadia Damouni and Suzanne Barlyn NEW YORK (Reuters) – Chip maker NXP Semiconductors NV has agreed to buy smaller peer Freescale Semiconductor Ltd and merge operations in a deal valuing the combined company at over $40 billion. The transaction is the clearest sign yet that semiconductor companies are regaining the confidence required to pursue big mergers and acquisitions at a time when their major clients, such as mobile phone manufacturers, seek to consolidate suppliers. Freescale also has its chips in consumer products such as Amazon’s Kindle e-reader. Last month, Avago Technologies said it would buy wireless networking company Emulex Corp for more than $600 million, while MaxLinear said it would buy Entropic Communications Inc for $287 million.
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