Rumors began to surface last week that the residential femtocell company was in talks of a sale, but it hasn't been clear who the buyer might be. A number of chipmakers would be interested, given the heightened industry focus on dual-mode Long Term Evolution (LTE) and HSPA+ silicon. (See Picochip Preps Base Station on a Dongle, Picochip, Wavesat Interoperate on LTE , AirHop, picoChip Scale Back to 3G and Challengers Shake Up LTE Chips .)
One limiting factor could be the price tag, considering the startup has raised more than $100 million in venture capital. But its work with big names such as Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), SK Telecom (Nasdaq: SKM) and Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) make picoChip a desirable commodity. (See picoChip Raises $20M, Ships 1M Chips.)
An IPO next year is still the plan of record, according to picoChip VP of Marketing Rupert Baines. The public offering market for mobile technology is growing again, and the young company is easily the startup leader in femtocells, claiming to have 80 percent of the femto market locked up.
But, picoChip could still be shopping itself around in case it can drum up a better offer. Baines says he isn't privy to takeover talks, but he did say if the price is right, picoChip investors may be open to a deal. (See PicoChip Bags $20M, Plans IPO.)
There's no shortage of potential acquirers, even if it's difficult to spot a perfect match. (See MWC 2011: Betting on the Next Chip M&A Deal.)
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile