Thalwil, Switzerland. June 28, 2012 – u-blox, a Switzerland-based producer of positioning and wireless semiconductors, is to acquire UK-based Cognovo Ltd. for US$16.5 million. Cognovo specialises in software-defined modem (SDM) chip development technology.
u-blox (SIX:UBXN) is a fabless semiconductor provider of embedded positioning and wireless communication solutions for the consumer, industrial and automotive markets. The acquisition extends u-blox’s chip design capabilities to create differentiated products for strategic markets that require 4G communications combined with global positioning.
Cognovo’s SDM technology and development tools are said to quickly translate complex radio modem designs into fully characterised low-power semiconductor chips. The combination of technologies from Cognovo and the recently acquired 4M Wireless will result in a new wireless modem platform based on IP owned by u-blox.
“This is a very exciting acquisition for u-blox as it positions us as an agile and cost-effective supplier of high-speed wireless modem products based on our own chip IP. This allows us to meet market demand for connected systems that require positioning, connectivity and application specific functionality on a single integrated circuit,” said Thomas Seiler, u-blox CEO. “This new foundation broadens our serviceable market, and will increase our margins in the automotive, consumer and industrial sectors. Our first 4G product is planned for 2013.”
Cognovo demonstrated its SDM baseband chip running high-speed 4G cellular functionality working with the LTE protocol stack from 4M Wireless at Mobile World Congress. With these acquisitions, u‑blox lays the groundwork for establishing a leading position in 4G wireless modems similar to the strategy that u-blox followed to become the market leader in GPS/GNSS modules. The market for 4G modems used for machine-to-machine (M2M) applications is predicted to grow rapidly, surpassing 20 million units by 2016.
“We are very pleased to deploy our SDM technology within u-blox”, said Dr. Gordon Aspin, Cognovo’s CEO. “With over 300 man-years of R&D (research & development) invested in our SDM technology, this acquisition brings together the industry’s most advanced software modem development platform with some of the best IC design and GNSS engineers in the world. This will be an unbeatable team.”
Among the key terms of the transaction are:
* Acquisition of 100% of the shares of Cognovo Ltd at a price of US$16.5 million
* Acquisition of key Cognovo intellectual property and software
* Integration of the Cognovo business and 30 employees into u-blox’s organisation
u-blox’ solutions enable people, devices, vehicles and machines to locate their exact position and wirelessly communicate via voice, text or video. With a broad portfolio of GPS modules, chips, and software solutions together with wireless modules and solutions, u-blox can enable OEMs to develop innovative solutions quickly and cost-effectively. Headquartered in Switzerland and with global presence in Europe, Asia and the Americas, u-blox employs over 200 people. The company was founded in 1997, and is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange.
Cognovo is a spin-off from the UK’s ARM Ltd. Cognovo’s software-defined modem platform enables the creation of flexible multi-mode devices capable of operating a dynamic mix of cellular modems and broadcast receivers. The platform delivers multi-mode products with silicon area and power consumption lower than the hardware designs which exist today and in a fraction of the time. Headquartered in Cambridge, UK, Cognovo has offices in Leuven, Belgium and sales representation in China, Korea, Japan and Taiwan.