US chipmaker Atmel is reportedly exploring a number of strategic options, including a possible sale, as larger semiconductor players look to ramp up their IoT offerings.

Reuters reports the company is working with an investment bank on a sale process, although there is no guarantees it will pursue the option.

Companies similar to Atmel have proved attractive acquisition targets to larger players in the sector looking to enhance their capabilities around IoT, to allow devices, cars and watches to interact.

Atmel manufactures processors and other hardware targeting the ‘wearables’ space, including smart watches and fitness bands, and has a market capitalisation of approximately $4 billion.

The speculation around Atmel follows recent large scale deals across the semiconductor industry, including Avago Technologies deal to acquire Broadcom for $37 billion, and Intel’s $17 billion deal to acquire Altera.

It is thought Atmel may also attract interest from larger semiconductor companies that want to sell analogue components, including sensors or power management capabilities.

The company first began to explore options after its long-term CEO Steve Laub said he would retire at the end of August, and its shares rose by 7.2 per cent amidst rumours of a possible sale.

According to Reuters data, deals in semiconductor M&A has reached approximately $80 billion since the start of the year.