SAN FRANCISCO—Mellanox Technologies Ltd., a suppler of interconnect solutions for servers and storage systems, said Wednesday (May 15) it signed a definitive agreement to acquire silicon photonics developer Kotura Inc. for about $82 million in cash.
Kotura (Monterey Park, Calif.) develops silicon photonics optical interconnect technology for high-speed networking applications. The firm announced in March it inked a foundry deal with an unnamed Japanese company to produce its silicon photonics chips.
Mellanox (Sunnyvale, Calif.) said the deal, expected to close in the second half of the year, has been unanimously approved by both companies' boards of directors. The company added that it expects the acquisition to enhance its competitiveness and expand its ability to deliver cost-effective, high-speed networks with next-generation optical connectivity.
Kotura, which is privately held, employs about 80 people and shipped its first silicon photonics chip in 2006. Since then, sales have grown to about 100,000 units a year made in its own modest facility. The foundry deal is expected to expand its production capability significantly.
Kotura hopes to be in production in 2014 with a 4x5 mm module that pumps 100 Gbits/s over one optical fiber. It will consume about 3.5W and, thanks to its use of single-mode fiber, it can theoretically deliver distances of 20 meters to 2 kilometers.
Silicon photonics is expected to play a significant role in the enablement of high-speed networks.
Kotura has more than 120 granted or pending patents in CMOS photonics and packaging design. The firm has made a number of groundbreaking innovations in optical interconnects by integrating multiple high speed active and passive optical functions onto a silicon chip.
Mellanox said Kotura’s technology will enable Mellanox’s interconnect products to reach 100Gb/s and beyond bandwidth, and have longer reach optical connectivity at a lower cost, allowing users to further reduce their capital and operating expenses and offer new revenue-generating services.
Mellanox expects to establish its first R&D center in the U.S. at Kotura’s current location in Monterey Park, Calif. Mellanox also said it intends to retain Kotura’s existing product lines to ensure continuity for customers and partners.
"We believe that silicon photonics is an important component in the development of 100 Gigabit InfiniBand and Ethernet solutions, and that owning and controlling the technology will allow us to develop the best, most reliable solution for our customers," said Eyal Waldman, chairman, president and CEO of Mellanox, in a statement.
Waldman said Mellanox expects the proposed acquisition of Kotura's technology and the additional development team to better position the company to produce 100Gb/s and faster interconnect solutions with higher-density optical connectivity at a lower cost.
"Together, we can execute faster and deliver better solutions based on Kotura’s silicon photonics platform that delivers the demands of 100Gb/s interconnects and beyond,” said Jean-Louis Malinge, president and CEO of Kotura.