Feeds

Mobile phone mast-in-a-chip biz sells out for $50m

Blighty-based Picochip finds Californian sugardaddy

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Mindspeed Technologies has agreed to buy UK femtocell leader Picochip for £33.4m ($51.9m), with more than half of that in cash, to help it jump into the burgeoning femtocell business.

Picochip employs about 150 people, most of them at its Bath offices, and leads the world in squeezing femtocell technologies into single chips. This makes it a nice match for Californian Mindspeed, which makes small cells of all kinds and also likes pushing ever more capability into its system on a chip (SoC) designs.

Neither company actually makes stuff, both design integrated chipsets and have them fabricated elsewhere for embedding in a third party's devices. But that's a good business to be in these days and while the market for femtocells - which are small, personal mobile phone base stations - hasn't exactly exploded, as some had hoped, Picochip is certainly one of the leading players.

In getting to that position Picochip has raised something in the region of $100m in venture cash, and borrowed another $9m in November 2010 from the Silicon Valley Bank - coincidentally the bank which is lending Mindspeed the cash to buy Picochip.

As a privately held company, Picochip doesn't publish detailed financials, but hasn't raised any more money since that loan and we're told that the original investors (and staff with shareholdings) are very happy with their position.

That position involves receiving $27.5m in cash, and 15 per cent of Mindspeed's stock, with the possibility of another $25m in early 2013 if performance goals are hit, which should motivate the sales team a bit.

Mindspeed assures us that it isn't planning to grab the IP and run, though the Picochip's intellectual property was part of the attraction. There is talk of a few job losses in administration, where roles are duplicated, but it’s the engineering staff that Mindspeed wanted.

Increasing scale is probably a good thing for both companies, and should the expected femtocell revolution never happen, then at least Picochip's technology can find a home in Mindspeed's micro- and pico-cell chips. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
Microsoft EU warns: If you have ties to the US, Feds can get your data
European corps can't afford to get complacent while American Big Biz battles Uncle Sam
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.