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Atheros Gets into GPS Biz with u-Nav Acquisition
2013-9-24 15:41:43
GPS World

Wireless chip and chipset provider Atheros Communications Inc. said today that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire GPS tech supplier u-Nav Microelectronics in a $54 million deal.

U-Nav is a privately-held fabless semiconductor company specializing in GPS chips and software that enable mobile location-based products and services. The acquisition effectively expands Atheros product portfolio of wireless LAN, Bluetooth and personal handyphone system (PHS) technologies to GPS.

U-Nav's product portfolio includes single-die products, several baseband chips and RFICs, and complete GPS system software applications providing signal acquisition, tracking, data extraction and GPS navigation. By aggregating its technology with that of u-Nav, Atheros says it will be able to expand into new markets, supporting multiple radios in a single device for local area networking, personal area networking and mobile location-based services.

"(U-Nav's) engineering team possesses significant RF design expertise on CMOS technology, which complements Atheros' design capability and culture," said Craig Barratt, Atheros' president and CEO. " With u-Nav's GPS competency we will deliver an impressive set of wireless solutions that include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS, increasing the value we bring to our customers."

With the acquisition of u-Nav, Atheros gains 54 employees located at u-Nav's Irvine, Calif., headquarters and its European engineering facility in Tampere, Finland. Upon closing the transaction, Atheros will also take assignment of the patent cross-license agreement already in place between u-Nav and SiRF Technology Inc., the company said.

The cash and stock transaction, currently valued at approximately $54 million, includes $15.4 million in cash and 1.28 million shares of Atheros common stock and may include an additional consideration to shareholders if certain defined milestones are achieved, according to Atheros. The company may record a one-time charge for purchased in-process research and development expenses. The amount of that charge, if any, has not yet been determined.

The boards of directors of both companies have approved the merger; the companies expect to close on the deal before the end of the month.

There have been several notable mergers and acquisitions in the GPS chip business this year, presumably thanks to the explosion of consumer applications. With its acquisition by Atheros, u-Nav is in good company: SiRF acquired Centrality earlier this year, for example, while Broadcom acquired Global Locate