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Atmel takes over technology, assets

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Motorola has sold its smartcard production business, part of its Semiconductor Products division, to fellow semiconductor specialist Atmel. Terms of the deal, which so far exists solely as a non-binding memorandum of understanding, were not disclosed. However, it is reported to be "non-dilutive" to Atmel's 1999 earnings, suggesting the deal will be made on paper, not hard cash. Both companies said they expect the transfer of Motorola's Smart Information Transfer (SIT) business to be completed by the end of the second quarter of the year at the latest. The Great Stan of Car Radios said the decision to sell SIT had been made as part of the company's strategy to focus on key businesses, and to "improve the value Motorola provides our shareholders", said a company spokesman with a very long job title. In other words, SIT probably isn't making enough money. Atmel, on the other hand, sees clear synergies with its existing business, specifically its non-volatile memory and current smartcard products. "We are confident that the transaction will provide revenue enhancement opportunities," said Atmel president and CEO George Perlegos. The two companies said they would maintain an ongoing relationship with Atmel supplying semiconductor products to Motorola's other smartcard operation, its Worldwide Smartcard Solutions Division. ®

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