NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. -- Conexant Systems Inc. here said today it has agreed to acquire Sierra Imaging Inc., a privately held developer of digital image-processing chips and software.
Simultaneously, the chip maker introduced its "front-end" CMOS megapixel image sensor. The combination of Sierra's "back-end" processors and image management software, together with Conexant's "front-end" image sensors will offer a complete digital camera solution.
The Sierra team will join Conexant's Personal Imaging Division, which provides semiconductor solutions for image capture, processing, communications and output. Sierra will continue to operate out of its Scotts Valley, Calif., location.
Conexant will issue approximately 1.25 million shares to acquire all the shares and options of Sierra Imaging. The all-stock transaction has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies and is scheduled to close in about 30 days. The transaction will be accounted for as a purchase and is expected to be accretive by Conexant's fiscal third quarter of 2001. TheSierra product portfolio is expected to generate an annualized revenue run-rate of more than $50 million in the fiscal fourth quarter of 2001.
Sierra's imaging products include digital image-processing chips, real-time digital signal processor (DSP) and RISC-based firmware for camera image processing and control and Web-enabled image management software. The company's digital image processing chip, Raptor II, is 10 times faster than general-purpose DSPs, features an "instant-on" operating environment and throughput rates of up to 3.3 megapixels per second.
"The acquisition of Sierra Imaging will allow us to aggressively penetrate multiple markets with total OEM customer solutions," said Kevin Strong, senior vice president and general manager of Conexant's Personal Imaging Division.
Conexant's CX20450 image sensor uses a mixed-signal CMOS process that increases sensor sensitivity and reduces noise over competing process technologies, according to Conexant. The CX20450 is the first 1.3-megapixel sensor that supports 27 frames-per-second (fps) video operation -- compared with competitive products that only support video frame rates of 9 fps. The sensor uses a 5.6-micron pixel, which allows for the use of industry standard near half-inch optical format lenses.
Conexant is pursuing a worldwide digital still camera market that totaled 6.6 million units in 1999 and is projected to reach more than 40 million units by 2004, according to International Data Corp. of Framingham, Mass.
"We look forward to joining with Conexant to offer 'best-in-class' digital imaging solutions," said Wendell Balc, Sierra Imaging president and CEO. "We are particularly excited about taking advantage of Conexant's imaging expertise, complementary communications solutions, manufacturing strengths and global sales force.
The CX20450 features an integrated 10-bit analog-to-digital converter, all timing circuitry and operates from a single 3.3-volt power source. The CX20450 also features progressive scan output, standard color filters and microlenses that are preferred for digital still cameras. The CX20450 is sampling now, and is available for $42.50 in OEM quantities of 1,000.