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Accelerant Gets Acquired

Light Reading
News Analysis
Light Reading
2/25/2004

Backplane interface specialist Accelerant Networks Inc. has been acquired by an unexpected suitor, design automation software firm Synopsys Inc. (see Synopsys Buys Monolithic, Accelerant).

Terms of the deal, announced yesterday, were not disclosed. A Synopsys spokeswoman says the company intends to hire all 20 of Accelerant's staff.

Chipmakers buy each other all the time, but Synopsys is different -- it sells the software used by chip designers to create ASICs. It also provides a library of ready-made designs, often called "cores," that customers can insert into their own chips.

That's where the interest in Accelerant lies. Accelerant's interface technology, which can send clean signals across copper traces at speeds of 6.25 Gbit/s, will become part of Synopsys's DesignWare portfolio of intellectual property, where it will be licensed out for use inside ASICs and FPGAs (field-programmable gate arrays).

In fact, the deal is a lot like the sale of Velio Communications Inc.'s interface technology to Rambus Inc. (Nasdaq: RMBS) in December (see Rambus Buys Velio's Serial Biz). Rambus doesn't sell chips either; it licenses high-speed interfaces to chipmakers.

Other companies developing high-speed backplane technology include Agere Systems Inc. (NYSE: AGR.A), Applied Micro Circuits Corp. (AMCC) (Nasdaq: AMCC), BitBlitz Communications Inc., Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM), Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), Marvell Technology Group Ltd. (Nasdaq: MRVL), PMC-Sierra Inc. (Nasdaq: PMCS), and Vitesse Semiconductor Corp. (Nasdaq: VTSS).

Synopsys also struck a deal yesterday to acquire memory chip vendor Monolithic System Technology Inc. (MoSys) (Nasdaq: MOSY) for $432 million in cash and stock.

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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sigint
sigint
12/5/2012 | 2:22:36 AM
re: Accelerant Gets Acquired
EDA companies, notably Synopsys and Cadence have been sitting on bucket fulls of cash. I'd see this as a positive move - EDA tools often usurp large portions of a product company's budget. It's only fair that some of that cash be ploughed back into development.

However, I don't think there's anything "automatic" about SERDES design - most of it being hand designed. What does that do to the "A" in EDA? :)
opticalwatcher
opticalwatcher
12/5/2012 | 2:22:34 AM
re: Accelerant Gets Acquired
If I were a customer using Accelerant chips, I'd be very worried. I can't see Synopsys being in the chip BUILDING business--they'd compete with their customers.

raid
raid
12/5/2012 | 2:22:32 AM
re: Accelerant Gets Acquired
tera,
They plan to sell the SerDes as a "IP Core". They
are not in the chip BUILDING business. The DesignWare library has been around forever. So, they are not competing with their customers.

I think this is a great move in the right direction. It enables the easy integration of the SerDes into all kinds of complex SOC solutions. Pre-verified IP Cores are very critical to reduce time-to-market.

This is what Synopsys press release says:

------------------------------------------------
Accelerant's intelligent high-speed 6.25Gb/s CMOS transceivers enable up to a ten-fold increase in data rates on the installed copper backplanes and cable systems used in today's server, storage, enterprise and network transport applications. Synopsys intends to apply Accelerant's unique, proven SERDES (serializer-deserializer) technology to offer multiple standards-based PHY cores such as PCI Express, Serial ATA (SATA), and emerging 6.25 to 10Gb/s backplane applications that utilize Accelerant's leadership in both binary and PAM4 (pulse amplitude modulation) signaling. By combining these SERDES-based cores with Synopsys' complementary digital cores, Synopsys will be able to offer customers low-risk, integrated analog and digital IP solutions.
I------------------------------------------------
geof hollingsworth
geof hollingsworth
12/5/2012 | 2:22:31 AM
re: Accelerant Gets Acquired
you'd be pretty unique (and lonely). Did they ever get any customers (I mean people with sockets currently being filled with an Accelerant chip, not "design wins"). My guess is that if they had any customers, this acquisition probably wouldn't have happened.
opticalwatcher
opticalwatcher
12/5/2012 | 2:22:30 AM
re: Accelerant Gets Acquired
I agree that selling the IP Core is a great idea.

But there are customers today that are using chips sold by Accelerant in their system. They probably don't want to go out and spend $1million+ to design/build an ASIC using this core just to replace a $40 part that may have just become obsolete because Synopsis just bought the company. These people are probably giving Accelerant/Synopsis a lot of worried high-level calls right now.

raid
raid
12/5/2012 | 2:22:29 AM
re: Accelerant Gets Acquired
I agree that selling the IP Core is a great idea.

But there are customers today that are using chips sold by Accelerant in their system. They probably don't want to go out and spend $1million+ to design/build an ASIC using this core just to replace a $40 part that may have just become obsolete because Synopsis just bought the company. These people are probably giving Accelerant/Synopsis a lot of worried high-level calls right now.
-----------------------------------------------

Agreed that Accelerant customers would be a littlw worried. But its not that bad - their chip is not obsolete - atleast not for a year. Th IP core takes almost a year before it becomes a chip. So, it mainly affects the next generation of chips.
sigint
sigint
12/5/2012 | 2:22:29 AM
re: Accelerant Gets Acquired
tera:
If I were a customer using Accelerant chips, I'd be very worried. I can't see Synopsys being in the chip BUILDING business--they'd compete with their customers.
__________________________________________________

This might simply be a way to move up the services chain. This analog business in not everyone's cup of tea - SERDES vendors would have to tweak the design for each process. An opportunity, I guess, for Synopsys to cash in on services (and possibly, sell tools).
opticalwatcher
opticalwatcher
12/5/2012 | 2:22:29 AM
re: Accelerant Gets Acquired
"Did they ever get any customers?"

Their website quotes Turin networks, using it in their Transverse platforms. Turin's website says that this platform has been selected by NTT.

My guess is that there are probably others--it is pretty cool technology.
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