LONDON Multimedia core licensor Imagination Technologies Group plc (Kings Langley, England) is on the look out to grow by acquisition, as well as organically, according to Tony King-Smith, vice president of marketing.
Although Imagination, best known for its PowerVR range of graphics cores, suffered from a run of loss-making years it has turned its fortunes around in the last couple of years as it has signed up leading chipmakers to license its graphics cores. It now includes two licensees Apple Inc and Intel Corp. as shareholders with 9.5 percent and 16 percent, respectively.
"We are looking seriously at acquisitions," he told EE Times saying that the company favored software teams that could help it take its suite of multimedia and communications cores closer to complete applications solutions.
King-Smith declined to name any prospects but said: "We continue to monitor the situation." He added that small R&D teams could be a good fit for the company but mainly in the software area, rather than peer group teams in processor core design or analog or mixed-signal chip design.
"Companies with applications software, middleware that complements us, companies working on protocol stacks, modulation algorithms; we want to move towards the higher layers," said King-Smith indicating that supplying complete hardware-and-software packages of intellectual property will increasingly be the key to getting design wins.
Imagination has turned in profits in its last two years. The company was able to increase its group pre-tax profit to £2.7 million (about $4.5 million) on sales revenue of £64.1 million (about $105.7 million) in the year to April 30, 2009. Technology revenues increased 24 percent to £36.9 million (about $60.8 million).
Imagination improved its cash position in the last financial year from £7.4 million (about $12.2 million) to £14.6 million (about $24.1 million). King-Smith said that with shareholders such as Apple and Intel standing behind Imagination, financial ways could be found to make a purchase if an opportunity presented itself.
"We tend to work with third-parties on the analog and RF side," said King-Smith. He said that Imagination has to consider the point at which analog and RF might come on-chip in a single-chip implementation but was not generally looking to acquire in that area.
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