Transmeta files for IPO

IBM and Tosh to cash in

Transmeta intends to go public, and yesterday filed its 400-page S-1 registration with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company intends to raise $200 million, which more than cancels out the $119 million it has accrued in costs since it was founded over five years ago. Transmeta unveiled its processors in January.

Paul Allen's Vulcan Ventures owns seven per cent of the company, and Quantum Industrial Partners, owned by currency speculator George Soros - the man who famously crashed the pound, and boasted about it - five per cent. IBM and Toshiba also own small amounts of common stock (about 1.6 per cent each) as a result of cross-licensing agreements made a couple of years ago.

As it's already hinted, the company will introduce faster processors based on 0.18 and 0.13 micron processes next year, and provides a detailed roadmap in the filing.

The company will introduce the TM3300 a maximum 400MHz part which has no L2 cache, and the TM3400, which is clocked at a maximum 400-500MHz and has a 256KB L2 cache for mobile appliances. TM5800 range will feature up to 1MB L2 cache and reach 1000MHz. However these clock speeds are useful only as an indicator of maximum performance, as Transmeta's chips power dynamically down to an optimal frequency.

Transmeta points out that IBM is the sole manufacturer of the processors in an agreement that expires at the end of 2003. It lists ARM, MIPS and x86-compatible NatSemi products as competition. Transmeta currently employees 313 staff. ®

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