DSP intellectual property licensor Ceva Inc.(Mountain View, Calif.) is acquiring RivieraWaves SAS (Sophia Antipolis, France), a specialist provider of Bluetooth and WiFi semiconductor IP and protocol software, for $19 million. The deal expands Ceva's offering of connectivity IP for smartphones, tablet computers and the Internet of Things, the company said.
Ceva’s deal was announced shortly after Atmel Corp. announced it has acquired wireless connectivity supplier Newport Media Inc. for $140 million in a similarly motivated connectivity for IoT deal (see Atmel Acquires Connectivity Chipmaker in IoT Play)
RivieraWaves was formed in 2010 by a team of engineers after they had left Wipro when it decided to close its site in the south of France in September 2009, during the depths of the global economic recession. Wipro had employed those engineers when it acquired Austrian IP developer NewLogic in 2005.
RivieraWaves includes Renesas Electronics and Dialog Semiconductor amongst its customers and therefore adds to Ceva's licensing and royalty revenue in both its existing markets – portable equipment and small cell basestation ICs – and in emerging markets such as wearable equipment and the Internet of Things.
Ceva said the acquisition establishes the company as a "one-stop-shop" for IP across a broad range of applications including vision, audio, communications, and connectivity.
Bulk up or ship out
Ceva was ranked about sixth in the 2013 for IP revenue by Gartner, behind Cadence, Imagination, Synopsys and ARM. Ceva missed out to Imagination in a fight to acquire processor IP firm MIPS Technologies Inc. in late 2012. And in 2013 Cadence acquired long-time Ceva rival Tensilica Inc. and Indian analog and mixed-signal specialist Cosmic Circuits.
RivieraWaves offers wireless connectivity platforms ready for integration into systems-on-chip (SoCs) and includes Wi-Fi 802.11ac and Bluetooth Smart 4.1 cores that implement the PHY and MAC layers along with system and RF support. These offerings are available as power efficient hardware-based designs or as software for implementation on a DSP and therefore suitable for integration on a unified LTE and WiFi platform.
The acquisition is a good fit, the companies said, because they have been working together for two years and have multiple joint customers who have deployed RivieraWaves Wi-Fi IP on Ceva DSP cores targeting mobile devices and the connected home.
"Our market-leading connectivity IP is highly complementary to their existing portfolio and together we are in a position to expand and strengthen Ceva's customer base and market reach," said Ange Aznar, CEO of RivieraWaves, in a statement issued by Ceva.
Ceva is paying $12 million at closing of the deal with the remaining $7 million payable on condition that certain performance targets are made and the implementation of a two-year retention plan for current RivieraWaves employees.
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