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NXP to Buy Location Smarts for $85M

Dan Jones
LR Mobile News Analysis
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor
12/21/2007

Today, NXP Semiconductors N.V. (Nasdaq: NXPI) announced that it plans to shell out $85 million for wireless location silicon startup GloNav Inc. in what has become a banner week for GPS chip startups.

NXP, a semiconductor spinoff from Royal Philips Electronics N.V. (NYSE: PHG; Amsterdam: PHI) , says it will buy Newport Beach, Calif.-based GloNav for $85 million in cash "plus up to $25 million in cash contingent upon GloNav reaching certain revenue and product development milestones over the next two years." The deal will give Dutch giant NXP a ready-made portfolio of GPS chipsets as the market for this technology in phones and other devices heats up.

GloNav claims to have rectified some of the problems that standard global positioning systems face when trying to lock onto a user indoors or traveling in a dense cityscape. The firm claims to get better indoor tracking by using more sensitive transceivers and combining the satelitte data with "assisted-GPS" signal readings from the cellphone network.

NXP, however, is not the only major chip supplier buying in GPS expertise this week. Atheros Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: ATHR) announced plans on Monday to buy u-Nav Microelectronics for $54 million. (See Atheros Buys Into GPS.) This follows Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM)'s acquisition of Global-Locate Inc. in June. [Is there a company called Nav-Locate yet? That's the next logical step in this ever-decreasing circle of company names.]

All of the other chip companies are playing catchup with Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) to a degree. The CDMA leader said in August that more than 300 million mobile devices have shippd with its gpsOne chipset onboard. (See Atheros Buys Into GPS.) — Dan-Nav Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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