SAN JOSE, Calif. United Business Media Ltd., the publisher of EE Times, has acquired for at least $8 million Sanguine Microelectronics, a semiconductor reverse engineering company based in Shanghai. UBM will merge Sanguine into its existing Semiconductor Insights (SI) group in Ottawa that provides chip and patent analysis services.
The deal nearly doubles SI's headcount and expands its lab capabilities. The acquisition comes at a time of rising patent activity in the electronics industry that is spawning new kinds of companies and services.
The expanded SI unit is among the largest of a set of companies that reverse engineer chips to determine the technology they use and patents that might read on them. Other players include ChipWorks (Ottawa) and Taeus International Corp. (Colorado Springs, Colo.).
Sanguine employs about 130 people with a lab in Shanghai and an office in France and has annual revenues of about $4 million. SI has about 160 employees with labs in Ottawa and Warsaw and sales offices in Japan, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, China, Europe and Israel.
SI and Sanguine will become part of a new business unit at UBM that includes system teardown specialist Portelligent (Austin). The three will have combined 2008 revenues of about $35 million. SI and Portelligent were acquired by UBM in 2007.
Sanguine has developed proprietary chip analysis software under the Matrix and Prisma brands. Under the deal, Sanguine's existing management team led by founder and president Haiping Yao will remain in place.
The Sanguine deal includes possible payments of up to $9.5 million to the Shanghai company over three years if the company meets unspecified business targets.
"Technical and intellectual property intelligence services for the electronics industry are a global, high value, high growth opportunity for TechInsights, and we aim to be a global leader in this market," said Paul Miller, chief executive of TechInsights, the UBM division which includes SI, Portelligent and EE Times.