Small cells

Qualcomm Snaps Up Small Cell SoC Designer

Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) has acquired small cell specialist DesignArt Networks , a deal Light Reading Mobile first suggested was in the works in early July. (See Rumor: Qualcomm to Buy Small-Cell Specialist.)

The Israel-based company builds integrated system-on-chips (SOCs) and supplies software for small cell base stations. Qualcomm says it will add DesignArt's Long Term Evolution (LTE) and backhaul technology to its existing portfolio of small cell base station tech, Wi-Fi, Ethernet and passive optical networking (PON) connectivity solutions.

The companies didn't reveal the terms of the acquisition, but a source told LR Mobile last month that the deal was for $80 million, plus up to $20 million more pending performance. And, an Israeli business publication reports Thursday that the deal could be worth upward of $120 to $140 million.

Why this matters
Qualcomm's getting serious about the small cell space and will use the acquisition to help operators beef up their networks in outdoor space, but it's also up against a number of big vendors and eager startups helping to build out operators' Heterogeneous Networks (HetNets).

The small cell and backhaul space is a hotbed for M&A lately too. Qualcomm's acquisition follows a string of others, including Mindspeed Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: MSPD)'s January acquisition of Picochip and Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM)'s 2011 acquisition of Provigent Inc. and 2010 purchase of Percello Ltd. . (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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— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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