In a bid to strengthen its Tegra business unit and offer system-on-chip devices for mainstream handsets and tablets, Nvidia decided to acquire Icera, an innovator of top-performing baseband processors for 3G and 4G cellular phones and tablets.
"This is a key step in Nvidia's plans to be a major player in the mobile computing revolution. Adding Icera's technology to Tegra gives us an outstanding platform to support the industry's best phones and tablets," said Jen-Hsun Huang, president and CEO of Nvidia.
The acquisition, for $367 million in cash, has been approved by both companies' boards of directors and is expected to be completed, subject to customary closing conditions, in approximately 30 days. The transaction is expected to be slightly dilutive on an operating basis through the first half of calendar 2012, and accretive on an operating basis in the second half of calendar 2012. This expectation does not take into account significant revenue synergies that the companies anticipate.
Icera has more than 550 patents granted or pending worldwide, and its high speed wireless-modem products have been approved by more than 50 carriers across the globe. By combining the companies' products and technologies, including Nvidia's Tegra processor, Nvidia will enhance its position as a leading player in the growing mobile market.
By offering the two main processors used in smartphones (the application processor and baseband processor), the combined company will help OEM customers both improve their time to market and deliver the requirements of next-generation mobile computing. Nvidia will also have approximately doubled its revenue opportunity within each device.
The market for baseband processors is one of the fastest growing segments of the technology industry, worth an estimated $15 billion a year. Icera will be able to leverage Nvidia's momentum in the smartphone and tablet markets to capitalize on this growth.
Icera is a pioneer in next-generation, multi-protocol wireless baseband processors with RF components. Its technology scales from 2G to 4G networks, using a custom-built, ultra-low-power processor. Because the baseband is software-based, manufacturers can develop multiple products from a common platform, reduce development costs, accelerate time to market and secure a route to support future baseband standards.
Icera's third-generation Livanto line of chipsets delivers the industry's fastest data rates, cuts user wait times, reduces battery drain and supports multiple standards on the same hardware. And its forthcoming Espresso450 and Espresso500 line of platforms provides industry-leading performance for 2G, 3G and 4G networks, low-power optimization for voice and high-speed data, and the industry's smallest form factor. Its portfolio of products will expand significantly in the near future.
Founded in 2002 and based in Bristol, England, the company has approximately 300 employees in seven countries in Europe and Asia, as well as the U.S.