April 2, 2012
Sigma Designs Inc. (Nasdaq: SIGM) has emerged as the "stalking horse" bidder for Trident Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: TRID)'s digital television system-on-chip (SoC) business, agreeing to put up US$21 million in cash for the unit's products, intellectual property and leased facilities.
The sale comes almost four months after Trident filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and agreed to sell its set-top box and Docsis cable modem silicon assets to Entropic Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: ENTR).
The deal between Sigma Designs and Trident, filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, is subject to a court-approved bidding and auction process. Trident and Entropic went through a similar process earlier in the year, resulting in Entropic sweetening its original $55 million bid by another $10 million.
Sigma Designs plans to close the deal by the second quarter of 2012 and to hire an undisclosed number of employees of Trident's DTV business, most of whom are based in China.
Why this matters
For Sigma Designs, a company that specializes in SoCs for set-top boxes, Blu-ray players and emerging home networking technologies such as G.hn, the deal will enable it to expand into the world of broadband-connected televisions. Trident supplies DTV SoCs to some major players in consumer electronics, including Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) , Vizio Inc. , LG Electronics Inc. (London: LGLD; Korea: 6657.KS) and Toshiba Corp. (Tokyo: 6502).
For Trident, the proposed sale gets the troubled company a step closer toward liquidating its assets.
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