It seems as if the levels of chatter surrounding acquisitions is picking up. Everyone wants to predict who will buy who.
ARM is one company mentioned a lot of the time these days. Two years ago, it was rumored that Apple would acquire the IP chip vendor. Last year, speculation had it that ARM would be acquired by Intel or Oracle.
Today, ARM's stock is up, it has cash on hand and is starting to spread into other markets where it may need additional technology to help cement its success. Hence, ARM is now viewed as a company on the prowl.
MIPS is not doing well and is said to be up for sale. While some have indicated that ARM may indeed buy MIPS, I see this as a very unlikely pairing unless ARM wants to buy the current MIPS seats and remove a competitor from the market. That seems like an expensive way to expand.
Some of the rumors are almost humorous. Bloomberg reports that ARM may be after Mentor or Cadence. Really? I doubt it, and find it humorous that EDA companies that tried so hard to become the dominant force in supplying IP are now becoming acquisition targets that IP companies would want to acquire the design tools.
Why would they do that when they donít have to take on the development risk of tools and if they did they would alienate a large portion of their customer base? They tried to be in the tools business back in 2004 when they bought Axys for $1.9M. Axys was a provider of fast, accurate, integrated, processor and system modeling and simulation solutions. Then in 2008 it is believed that they almost gave the stuff away to Carbon Design Systems although financial terms were not disclosed.
Another crazy acquisition was suggested by Seeking Alpha, who thinks that Synopsys may be interested in acquiring MIPS. I know that the relationship between Synopsys and ARM has been off its peak ever since they became somewhat competitive in the physical IP space, but both companies are still important to each other and continue to do collaborative work.
I canít begin to think what would happen if Synopsys acquired MIPS. Synopsys would probably not be able to persuade many design houses to switch to the MIPS processor architecture and the level of competition between ARM and Synopsys would probably mean that ARM would not be as forthcoming with information about new processors putting Synopsys at a considerable disadvantage.
So what crazy acquisitions can you think of that would be better than those of the big financial houses who donít understand the technology?Brian Bailey
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