SiS spins off Xabre, buys Trident's graphics biz

Trident to focus on digital TV

Xabre Graphics (XGI),SiS' newly formed subsidiary, has bought US-based Trident Microsystems' graphics chip development operation for an undisclosed sum.

The acquisition is accompanied by a major restructure at Trident, which will now focus on digital TV products by merging its digital media set-top box operation into its Taiwanese subsidiary, Trident Technologies, which develops chips for consumer electronics products with flat-panel screens.

Acquiring Trident's graphics division gives Xabre a further foot in the mobile graphics market on which Trident has specialised. Xabre will take on the division's operational assets, intellectual property and goodwill. The merged business will be headed by Trident managers. Indeed, Trident's president and CEO is Frank Lin. XGI's president is Chris Lin. Are they, by any chance, related?

Upon completion of the deal Trident will own 30 per cent of Xabre. Completion is expected to take place this month. Xabre gets all of Trident's graphics chip product lines, along with the Trident graphics operations' 60-odd employees

Xabre is capitalised at NT$450 million ($13 million), but SiS intends to raise that to NT$1.7 billion ($49 million) with cash from its own coffers and from other investors, including Trident.

"By combining Trident's strength in the mobile graphics market with XGI's leading presence in the desktop market, XGI will merge the complementary strengths of both companies to effectively attack the graphics market. These combined strengths, together with a strategic alliance with SiS' core logic business and new capitalisation from new investors should create a formidable power in both the mobile and desktop graphics markets," said Michael Chen, chairman of the board of XGI, and president and CEO of SiS, in a statement.

The deal mirrors VIA's 2000 acquisition of S3 Graphics, although according to reports Xabre has paid a lot less for Trident than VIA did for S3, which cost the chip maker $323 million.

The merger between TTI and Trident's digital media operation will see the creation of a new organisation operating under the TTI name. The new operation will be headed by the digital media division's US management. It will be part funded with $10 million worth of UMC stock currently held by Trident. Trident owns 68 per cent of the original TTI - it will hold 90 per cent of the new business, which it said it is preparing to float on either the US or Taiwanese stock exchange.

Trident also owns Trident Multimedia Technologies (TMT), a Shanghai based subsidiary formed to push Trident products into China. TMT has also developed a VLSI design operation, which will now provide VLSI IP and design services not only to TTI but to Xabre. ®

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