Imagination Increases MIPS Bid To $80 Million

MIPS logo

The UK chip designer finds itself in a bidding war against Israeli company

British mobile graphics and microprocessor chip designer Imagination Technologies has upped its offer for the business and some of the patents of once-legendary MIPS Technologies to $80 million.

The increased offer is a response to a bid from a rival company CEVA, which offered $75 million for MIPS in November.

It is thought the deal could help Imagination diversify its business, and challenge ARM in the mobile device market. MIPS has agreed to the conditions, and unless CEVA makes another offer, the company will change ownership early in 2013.

To the highest bidder

Established nearly 30 years ago, MIPS was a pioneer of Reduced Instruction Set Computing (RISC). By 1990s, it started to licence its embedded processor core designs, operating a business model similar to the one now used by ARM. Today, chips designed by MIPS can be found in Blu-Ray players, digital TVs, game consoles, tablets and smartphones.

Meanwhile, Imagination is best known for its Pure Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) receivers and PowerVR GPUs, which are licensed to Intel, Apple and Samsung, among others. Intel and Apple are also some of the company’s largest shareholders.

In November, Imagination offered $60 million for the MIPS estate and 82 patents, while the consortium led by ARM announced it would pay $350 million for the remaining 498 patents. As part of the deal, Imagination would get license rights to all of the MIPS intellectual property.

Two weeks later, CEVA, the world’s leading licensor of Digital Signal Processing (DSP) cores, made a higher offer of $75 million for the MIPS business, causing Imagination shares to drop three percent.

Now, the UK company has added $20 million to its initial offer, hoping to complete the transaction in the first quarter of 2013. It said that all other material terms and conditions of the acquisition remain as stated in the original announcement.

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