Information Technology

Qualcomm Grabs CSR For $2.5 Billion

15 October 2014

Qualcomm has agreed to buy fabless chip company CSR plc (Cambridge, England) for £1.56 billion (about $2.5 billion) in an all cash offer of 900 pence per share.

The Qualcomm offer has the support of the CSR board of directors, who had previously rejected a bid from microcontroller chip company Microchip Technology Inc. (see CSR Rejects Microchip Takeover Bid).

CSR is a fabless chip company that started in Bluetooth transceiver and since going public in 2004 has moved into chips for more general wireless connectivity, audio, imaging and GPS navigation. However, in recent years financial progress has slowed and in July 2012 CSR sold its mobile business to Samsung Electronics for $310 million. Samsung invested an additional $34.4 million to take a 4.9 percent stake in CSR.

CSR, which had annual sales in 2013 of $960.7 million, will be acquired by Qualcomm Global Trading Pte. Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Qualcomm Inc.

Qualcomm said the acquisition of CSR would extend its reach in such areas as automotive electronics and the Internet of Everything.

"CSR is an innovator in the development of multifunction semiconductor platforms with a focus in the five strategic areas of automotive infotainment, Bluetooth Smart, document imaging and voice & music and the nascent market of indoor location. Our solutions are adopted by many of the world's leading technology and consumer focused companies," said Ron Mackintosh, chairman of CSR, in a statement.

"While the CSR directors believe that CSR is now strongly positioned to execute its strategy of delivering growth and sustainable returns in the medium and long term, we believe that the offer from Qualcomm provides CSR shareholders with an immediate and certain value which is highly attractive. The CSR directors believe the acquisition recognizes CSR's long-term prospects and growth potential, and takes into account the dynamics of the global market and the competitive landscape in which it operates. The board believes this represents a very attractive outcome for CSR shareholders, customers and employees."

Qualcomm's CEO Steve Mollenkopf, said: "The addition of CSR's technology leadership in Bluetooth, Bluetooth Smart and audio processing will strengthen Qualcomm's position in providing critical solutions that drive the rapid growth of the Internet of Everything, including business areas such as portable audio, automotive and wearable devices."

CSR was spun out of Cambridge Consultants Ltd. in 1999 as Cambridge Silicon Radio Ltd. and produced the world's first single-chip Bluetooth transceiver. On the strength of sales of Bluetooth chips into mobile phones the company was able to go public on the London Stock Exchange in 2004.

The acquisition of CSR by Qualcomm represents the demise of a significant portion of the indigenous UK electronics industry. In the last decade it produced two fabless chip companies of note; Wolfson Microelectronics plc (Edinburgh, Scotland) and CSR Iplc. It was announced in April 2014 that Wolfson, which specializes in signal processing and mixed-signal functions, would be acquired by Cirrus Logic Inc. for £278 million (about $467 million).

Related links and articles:

IHS connectivity and IoT research

News articles:

CSR Rejects Microchip Takeover Bid

Consolidator Microchip Makes Supertex Power Play

Apple Supplier Cirrus to Buy Samsung Supplier Wolfson

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