LONDON – Graphics and CPU company Nvidia Corp. is stepping into 3- and 4G communications by way of the purchase of Icera Inc. (Bristol England) for $367 million in cash.
Icera, founded in 2002, has received more than $200 million in venture capital investment over the years and has more than 550 patents granted or pending worldwide. The company has specialized in creating software modems that run on its own ICs for incorporation in dongles and mobile phones.
By acquiring Icera Nvidia will be able to combine its own GPUs and ARM-based CPUs with mobile communications technology to enhance its position as a provider of chips, chipsets and software for mobile applications, the company said.
Nvidia said it would combine applications processors and baseband processors although it also stated that it would continue to collaborate with existing baseband partners and respect customers' preferences in combining application and baseband processors.
The acquisition, for $367 million in cash, has been approved by both companies' boards of directors and is expected to be completed, subject to customary closing conditions, in approximately 30 days.
The market for baseband processors is one of the fastest growing segments of the technology industry, worth an estimated $15 billion a year.
"This is a key step in Nvidia's plans to be a major player in the mobile computing revolution," said Jen-Hsun Huang, president and CEO of Nvidia. "Adding Icera's technology to Tegra gives us an outstanding platform to support the industry's best phones and tablets. Icera is a perfect fit for Nvidia. Our businesses are complementary. Icera has the right team, with a strong, proven track record. And their nimble, entrepreneurial, engineering-focused culture mirrors our own."
Stan Boland, president and CEO of Icera, said, "Nvidia's Tegra processor has the most impressive roadmap in the industry, and it is an ideal match for Icera. As part of Nvidia, we will be able to reach a broader market. Our team has collaborated closely with Nvidia for several years on a range of projects, and we’re delighted to be joining forces."
@rick.merritt: yes, I agree this is a great fit for NVidia. Their latest quarterly earnings was up 8.5%, their net income was $135.2 million, so this acquisition is for less than what it earns in a year. I bet the geeks at Nvidia when they invented the GPU in 1999 didn't see this coming in 12 years down the road! Now a days the GPU does much more functionally than what it was intended to do originally.
It is impressive to note that NVidia is morphing into a much more diversified Silicon company. Why didn't Intel gobble up Icera?
It makes a whole lot of sense.
Nvidia's ARM-based Tegra parts are just the thing for tablets and high end phones (the sort that will allow you to to a phone+monitor = limited desktop).
Adding cellular IP to the mix will give them a formidable platform.
While this is late to the party for the previous geneeeration of mobiles, the specs of these parts makes them early to the party for the next gen.
Smart move by the chipmaker. It augemnts their own offerings in the portable segment but they should be careful not to step on to their customers shoes.BTW, apart from Tegra what are they doing in the CPU+GPU space? No luck so far, hmm...
nVidia got them cheaply. 550 fundamental 4G patents alone is probably worth the deal.
Some consolidation happening here. Seems competition in the integrated mobile CPU + baseband is going to get tight
Intel + Infineon WLS
Qualcomm + own 4g
Broadcom + Beceem
nVidia + Icera
Apple + ?
TI + ?
Wavesat,Sequans,Altair,STE still available for acquisition. IMO Apple/TI/Samsung should buy some of these companies to compete against others.
The acquisition is good. Spending $367m to buy a company which has been invested $200m is pretty good deal imo. What does the acquisition mean to the industry? What will be the impact to the other major players such as Qualcomm and TI?
Makes sense to me. Nvidia was lacking the baseband technology for its otherwise successful Tegra line of smartphone/tablet processors and Icera has been getting a good reputation for its baseband tech.
Join our online Radio Show on Friday 11th July starting at 2:00pm Eastern, when EETimes editor of all things fun and interesting, Max Maxfield, and embedded systems expert, Jack Ganssle, will debate as to just what is, and is not, and embedded system.