Bath microchip firm snapped up by American company in multi-million dollar deal
A microchip manufacturer and significant employer in Bath has been bought by a US semiconductor firm for $51.8 million.
Upper Borough Walls-based Picochip, which designs and makes chips for 3G and 4G devices, has been snapped up by Californian firm Mindspeed Technologies Inc.
Picochip, which began as a start-up from a kitchen table in Sydney Buildings a decade ago, now employs around 100 staff in Bath, with a further 50 worldwide.
Picochip told the Chronicle that the deal, which has been approved by both boards of directors but is subject to certain closing conditions, would not result in any operations being moved out of Bath.
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“Absolutely not,” said Rupert Baines, vice president (marketing) at Picochip. “What we’ve got here in Bath are some of the most experienced, talented and skilled engineers in the world and that’s what they [Mindspeed] are buying.
“The site and the processes in Bath will be carrying on, perhaps even growing.”
Mindspeed Technologies is listed on the NASDAQ and, prior to the deal with Picochip, already had a 550-strong workforce across the globe.
The deal is part-cash, part-stock and represents a payday for the venture capitalists who have backed Picochip.
“We are venture-backed so there was always an exit plan, and that was either a public listing or a sale,” explained Mr Baines.
“Over the past year we have worked with companies that Mindspeed also works with and it just became increasingly obvious that we were a very good fit.”
Mindspeed said the acquisition would increase its exposure to the growing mobile broadband communications infrastructure market.
Raouf Halim, CEO of Mindspeed, said: “Our acquisition of Picochip establishes our position as a global leader in wireless infrastructure semiconductor solutions for next generation mobile broadband communications. It is a great strategic fit.”
Nigel Toon, chief executive officer and president of Picochip, added: “Mindspeed is the ideal acquirer for us. Together, we have valuable technology and customer synergies.
“Our combined resources create one of the largest system-on-chip SoC development groups in the wireless infrastructure sector with complementary intellectual property scale and expertise to deliver the solutions that this fast-moving market demands.”
Picochip, which made around a dozen employees at its Bath office redundant last summer, lists Cisco and Samsung among its clients.