Atheros Communications Acquires u-Nav Microelectronics
Another GPS semiconductor company acquired.
Atheros Communications has announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the assets and certain liabilities of u-Nav Microelectronics, a privately held fabless semiconductor company specializing in global positioning system (GPS) chipsets and software that enable mobile location-based products and services. The acquisition of u-Nav immediately expands Atheros’ growing product portfolio in mobile wireless communications which also includes mobile wireless LAN (WLAN), Bluetooth and PHS.

With one of the world’s most integrated designs for GPS, u-Nav’s technology enables mobile device manufacturers to quickly and easily develop embedded GPS applications for the wireless handset, personal navigation device, personal computing, consumer and mobile telemetry markets. u-Nav’s flagship product, the uN3010, is a single-chip GPS receiver that integrates the company’s CMOS high-performance RFIC core with its third-generation baseband IC core. The uN3010 supports high-sensitivity GPS signal acquisition that exceeds industry standards. u-Nav’s product portfolio includes single-die solutions, several baseband chips and RFICs, and complete GPS system software solutions providing signal acquisition, tracking, data extraction and GPS navigation.

The addition of u-Nav’s shipping GPS products and technologies to Atheros’ Radio-on-Chip for Mobile (ROCm) portfolio enables the company to deliver high-performance, cost-efficient combinations of mobile solutions featuring the industry’s leading WLAN, Bluetooth and GPS technologies. By aggregating these complimentary wireless technologies into complete, single-source solutions, Atheros will deliver greater value to its existing base of world-class customers, expand into new market segments and offer a greater share of the total bill of materials for mobile devices. Additionally, Atheros will provide optimized wireless coexistence, supporting multiple radios in a single device for local area networking, personal area networking and mobile location-based services.

“Like Atheros, u-Nav leads the industry with highly integrated, leading-performance solutions and was among the first companies to deliver single-chip CMOS GPS,” said Craig Barratt, president and chief executive officer of Atheros. “Their engineering team possesses significant RF design expertise on CMOS technology, which complements Atheros’ design capability and culture. With u-Nav’s GPS competency we will deliver an impressive set of wireless solutions that include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS, increasing the value we bring to our customers.

“We are enthusiastic about joining Atheros. With its exemplary reputation for engineering best-in-class communications solutions, Atheros provides us with a great development environment and the opportunity to significantly expand the adoption of our GPS solutions,” said Greg Winner, formerly chief executive officer of u-Nav, now General Manager of Atheros’ GPS business unit?. “Atheros’ strong PC, networking and consumer products customer base provides an extensive channel in which to leverage u-Nav’s GPS capabilities and to achieve synergies for delivering Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS from a single, trusted vendor.”

With the acquisition of u-Nav, Atheros gains 54 employees located at u-Nav’s Irvine, Calif., headquarters and its European engineering facility in Tampere, Finland. Upon closing the transaction, Atheros will also take assignment of the patent cross-license agreement already in place between u-Nav and SiRF Technology, Inc.

The cash and stock transaction, currently valued at approximately $54 million, includes $15.4 million in cash and 1.28 million shares of Atheros common stock and may include an additional consideration to shareholders if certain defined milestones are achieved. A portion of the consideration will be held in escrow for up to 12 months. Atheros may record a one-time charge for purchased in-process research and development expenses. The amount of that charge, if any, has not yet been determined. The boards of directors of both companies have approved the transaction. Completion of this transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in December 2007.
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