Feeds

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

Blighty-based Picochip finds Californian sugardaddy

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

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. ®

Seven Steps to Software Security

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple ran off to IBM
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Nadella: Apps must run on ALL WINDOWS – PCs, slabs and mobes
Phone egg, meet desktop chicken - your mother
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.