Comms chips

Rumor: Qualcomm to Buy Small-Cell Specialist

Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) is in the final stages of acquiring small-cell chipset specialist DesignArt Networks , according to an industry source.

According to Light Reading Mobile's source, the price of the deal for the Israel-based company is expected to be US$80 million, plus up to $20 million more depending on post-acquisition performance.

DesignArt specializes in system-on-chip (SoC) technology and software platforms for LTE small cells that have integrated backhaul capabilities. The acquisition would signal that Qualcomm wants to make a bigger push into small cells, particularly those that can be deployed for public access to boost mobile data capacity. (See Small-Cell Startup Goes Big On Backhaul and Chip Startup Spurs Small-Cell Backhaul .)

Founded in 2006, DesignArt has not disclosed how much funding it has raised to date from its investors Carmel Ventures , Magma Venture Partners and Motorola Solutions Venture Capital (formerly Motorola Ventures).

The acquisition, should it be completed, would be the latest in a wave of small-cell chipset consolidation deals: Mindspeed Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: MSPD) acquired Picochip for $51.8 million in January this year; and Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM) bought Percello Ltd. for $86 million in October 2010 as well as microwave backhaul startup Provigent Inc. for $313 million in March 2011. (See Mindspeed Snaps Up Picochip for $51.8M, Broadcom to Buy Femto Chip Startup for $86M and Broadcom Buys Into Microwave Backhaul.)

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— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

joset01 12/5/2012 | 5:28:47 PM
re: Rumor: Qualcomm to Buy Small-Cell Specialist

LTE small cell roll-out is likely to start in earnest in 2H12 and into 2013.

Michelle Donegan 12/5/2012 | 5:28:47 PM
re: Rumor: Qualcomm to Buy Small-Cell Specialist

It would be an interesting move for Qualcomm to snap up DesignArt and shows the company may have plans for small base stations that go beyond the home DesignArt's LTE small cell SoC plus backhaul support is an interesting combo too.

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 5:28:45 PM
re: Rumor: Qualcomm to Buy Small-Cell Specialist

I couldn't find out any info about Qualcomm's small cell plans at their conference last week, but the move would certainly make sense given its mobile ambitions.

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