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Cambridge Silicon Radio buys into GPS

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UK wireless-chip specialists CSR, makers of Bluetooth and WiFi chips used by everyone from Nokia to Samsung, has bought up GPS-chipset manufacturer Sirf at a knockdown price

Sirf has had a bad year, losing $398m during 2008, enabling CSR to snap up the company for a valuation of only £91m despite it having more than £80m in the bank. The deal will see Sirf shareholders getting 27 per cent of CSR, or 0.741 shares in CSR for each share of Sirf they own a significant premium on the open-market share price.

The combined company will be able to pitch Bluetooth, WiFi and GPS chips to handset manufacturers, as well as working towards combined silicon that could offer all three functions on a single die.

The new company is expecting to save around $35m annually, by cutting sale, marketing, R&D and "overheads" over the next 60 days - so the sales team at Sirf should be feeling slightly nervous given the success of CSR in that area, and any extraneous offices might also be feeling the pinch.

The economic situation may well be grim for many, but those who have cash looking around for competitors to buy, or acquisition-based expansions, are finding that can be done on the cheap before the economy recovers. CSR's expansion into GPS makes sense, and the acquisition should also prevent CSR becoming the target of someone else's expansion plans.®

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