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Semiconductors and Components

Atmel Acquires Connectivity Chipmaker in IoT Play

08 July 2014

The desire to compete in the future Internet of Things (IoT) continues to influence the decisions of semiconductor suppliers as Atmel Corp. has acquired wireless connectivity supplier Newport Media Inc. (NMI) for $140 million.

Steven Laub, CEO of Atmel, said in a conference call Monday (July 7) that the largest opportunity for growth is mobility as demonstrated by the demand for smartphones and tablets, eclipsing PCs over the last few years.

“IoT is expected to be the biggest growth opportunity in the next few years, something that will be enabled by Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Zigbee,” Laub said. “Atmel has been open to adding Bluetooth to our portfolio and with the acquisition [of NMI], we complete our wireless portfolio. NMI fills the gaps in our wireless portfolio to help drive our business to the next level.”

Laub said Atmel already has a footprint in Wi-Fi and Zigbee and the addition of Bluetooth rounds out its wireless group as well as the addition of 802.11N, which will give a higher performance to devices with lower power.

The IoT encompasses virtually any device that can connect to the Internet and the ability to send and receive data. Atmel envisions this to include security systems, industrial machines, smart energy, smart lighting, consumer electronics remote controls, automobiles, appliances and a variety of other devices.

The NMI acquisition, expected to close in the third quarter, is for $140 million in cash with an additional earn-out of up to $30 million based on certain financial milestones that happen over the course of the next two years. Atmel said it will fund the transaction with cash on hand and borrowings under its existing credit facility.

According to Atmel, NMI had revenues in 2013 of $43 million and has 230 employees as well as 120 U.S. patents and its main products are 802.11N and Bluetooth combination products.

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