SAN FRANCISCO — Mentor Graphics has purchased Berkeley Design Automation (BDA), a nanometer-focused analog, mixed-signal (AMS), and RF circuit verification company.
The deal was announced Friday, March 21. The price was not disclosed.
"The motivation behind this deal is to improve our product line to include nanometer designs. Mentor Graphics has been in the AMS business for quite a while, but we've been vectoring our tools toward the analog domain," Robert Hum, vice president and general manager of Mentor's DSM division, told EE Times. "BDA is vectoring tools at analog pieces of the nanometer domain, focused on capacity and performance."
As products such as cellphones continue to interface with the real world, large chips and processors are converging digital and analog components. There will be more requirements to verify the analog and digital work together as designs become inherently mixed signal, Hum said.
"When complex analog and mixed-signal circuits are designed for nanometer geometries, the verification tools must have the capacity, capability and performance to enable designers to predictably and reliably solve increasingly tough verification problems," Hum said in a press release. "Joining forces with BDA gives our mutual customers the most advanced tools that deal with the growing number of nanometer-scale physical effects that design teams are facing."
Facing industry pressure to expand verification systems and increasing system convergence, Mentor officials said the company hopes to expand services to meet myriad verification requirements. The two companies' geographical strengths -- Mentor in Europe and Asia, BDA in North America, Japan, and Taiwan -- as well as non-overlapping product strengths would further Mentor's goal of providing additional solutions to analog/mixed signal challenges.
The BDA acquisition "increases our reach to be able to offer products to wider customer base," Hum told us. "Different customers use different kinds of verification, and this will let us reach them." Many verticals stand to benefit from better signal verification. "This isn't going to address particular verticals as much as it will address designs and focus on 45 nm and below."
Hum said it will be at least 18 months before Mentor releases a new or next-generation product.
The deal follows the conclusion of a legal battle between BDA and Cadence Design Systems Inc., which claimed Berkeley was in breach of contract agreements and copyright. BDA allegedly used its analog Spice nanometer circuit verification platform with Cadence's Virtuoso Analog Design Environment and avoided the use of Cadence's Oasis integration product, EE Times Europe reported. In a January settlement, BDA agreed to a pay an undisclosed amount of money to Cadence and signed a multi-year contract to support interoperability between BDA's Analog FastSPICE simulator and Virtuoso through the Oasis interface.
Lawsuit aside, Hum told us he expects the BDA acquisition to make Mentor more competitive. "BDA wins business against Synopsys and Cadence with a very strong product. Mentor Graphics has been in mixed signal for longer than any of the other companies in the industry. Adding BDA to our family now gives us reach from the mixed signal area through the nanometer area."
— Jessica Lipsky, Associate Editor, EE Times