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MIPS, a designer of technologies for low-power microprocessors, on Tuesday was acquired by a consortium of several companies, including ARM, Imagination Technologies and Bridge Crossing LLC, which belongs to Allied Security Trust, another consortium of high-tech companies. The acquisition will bring together two of the world's top five semiconductor design IP vendors and will generate new business and revenue opportunities.

"After a thorough review of a wide range of alternatives to enhance shareholder value, our board of directors concluded that the best alternative for the company would be the sale of patent properties to a consortium formed by AST, and a sale of the company to Imagination. Importantly, as part of Imagination, the MIPS architecture will continue to be supported, and protected by MIPS patents,” said Sandeep Vij, chief executive officer of MIPS.

Imagination Technologies, a leading multimedia, communications and embedded processor technology company, has signed an agreement to acquire the operating business and certain patent properties, as well as license rights to all of the remaining patent properties, of MIPS Technologies, for a cash consideration of $60 million. In addition to the operating business of MIPS, Imagination’s purchase includes ownership of 82 key patent properties that are directly relevant to the MIPS architecture, and comprehensive license rights to all of the remaining 498 MIPS’ patent properties.

The acquisition of MIPS adds highly respected RISC-based 32-bit and 64-bit CPU applications processor architectures that complement Imagination's existing Meta 32-bit embedded CPU IP product family. The architectures have similar philosophies in several key areas including hardware multi-threading whilst also bringing highly complementary capabilities. The resulting combined CPU IP offering will become one of the industry's strongest and most comprehensive. As a result of the transaction, Imagination will be able to offer different central processing unit architectures for licensing as well as GPUs (graphics processors), VPUs (video processors) and RPU (radio processors),

"The MIPS architecture is widely respected, and is complementary to Imagination's existing CPU capabilities. I believe that this proposed transaction will be welcomed by both companies' customers, including our mutual partners, and by the electronics industry at large. Post deal closure, Imagination will continue to support and expand the MIPS architecture and ecosystem, with the combined effort aiming to create a new industry-leading force in CPU development and licensing,” said Hossein Yassaie, chief executive officer of Imagination Technologies.

Bridge Crossing LLC an acquisition vehicle of Allied Security Trust (AST), will acquire 498 of MIPS' total 580 patent assets for gross proceeds of $350 million. MIPS will retain the remaining 82 patent properties that are directly relevant and key to the MIPS architecture, and will also be granted a royalty-free, perpetual license under all of the patent properties sold to Bridge Crossing. MIPS will also provide a restricted license to Bridge Crossing under the 82 retained patent properties. Allied Security Trust currently has 26 members, from Europe, North America and Asia, including Avaya, HP, IBM, Intel, Motorola, Oracle, Philips and Research in Motion

"By combining the technologies and skills of MIPS and Imagination, a leading multimedia, communications and embedded processor technology company, we believe that we can together create a powerful, well-differentiated and highly influential alternative to existing CPUs in the market. The move is highly strategic and presents clear benefits to MIPS' customers, employees, and partners," added Mr. Vij.

Tags: ARM, MIPS, PowerVR, Imagination, Imagination Technologies

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