LONDON – Microcontroller vendor Microchip Technology Inc. (Chandler, Ariz.) has acquired Ident Technology AG (Gilching, Germany) a company that is developing 3-D gesture recognition technology based on electric field sensing.
The amount Microchip has paid, or is paying for, Ident was not disclosed although as recently as September 2011 Robert Bosch Venture Capital led an investment round of 7.1 million euro (about $10 million) in Ident.
The acquisition was revealed as part of Microchip's report of its fourth fiscal quarter and full fiscal year financial results. "This acquisition builds upon Microchip’s strengths in proximity, touch sense and touch screen controller solutions for the embedded market," the company said, in a statement. Microchip also acquired Roving Networks Inc. during the quarter to expand its embedded Wi-Fi capabilities and Bluetooth connectivity options for PIC microcontrollers.
For the quarter ended March 31, 2012, Microchip made a net profit of $80.6 million on sales of $338.9 million. The quarter was Microchip's 86th consecutive profitable quarter. Quarterly sales were up 3.0 percent from $329.2 million in the immediately preceding quarter, and down 10.8 percent from net sales of $380.0 million in the prior year’s fourth quarter.
For the full year Microchip made a net profit of $336.7 million on sales revenue of $1.38 billion. Sales were down 7.0 percent from net sales of $1.49 billion in the prior fiscal year. The net profit of $336.7 million was a decrease of 21.5 percent from net income from continuing operations of $429.2 million in the prior fiscal year.
The company said the outlook is good for the company and it predicted sales of between $349.1 million and $362.6 million in the first fiscal and second calendar quarter.
"We believe our inventory levels and short lead times, combined with our strong product portfolio have positioned us well to gain market share in our microcontroller and analog product lines,” said Steve Sanghi, CEO of Microchip.
"Our microcontroller business was up 5.5 percent on a sequential basis in the March quarter, with both 8-bit and 16-bit product line revenue up sequentially," said Ganesh Moorthy, chief operating officer of Microchip in the same statement. "Our 16-bit business was up 19.3 percent sequentially in the March quarter, as our business recovered sharply from the inventory correction."
The Ident technology has similarities to the EPIC e-field sensor being brought to market by Plessey Semiconductors Ltd. (Plymouth, England).