Nvidia Buys British Baseband Specialist Icera

Nvidia’s £224m acquisition of Icera will bring in wireless technology for mobile phones and tablets

Processor manufacturer Nvidia announced that it has agreed to acquire Icera, a developer of baseband processors for 3G and 4G cellular phones and tablets. The acquisition, for $367 million (£224m) in cash, has been approved by both companies’ boards of directors and is expected to be completed, subject to customary closing conditions, in approximately 30 days.

In a joint statement the companies said the transaction is expected to be slightly dilutive on an operating basis through the first half of calendar 2012, and accretive on an operating basis in the second half of calendar 2012. The statement noted this expectation does not take into account “significant revenue synergies” that the companies anticipate.

UK-based company

Icera has more than 550 patents granted or pending worldwide, and its high speed wireless-modem products have been approved by more than 50 carriers across the globe. Founded in 2002 and based in Bristol, England, the company has approximately 300 employees in seven countries in Europe and Asia, as well as the US.

The company’s forthcoming Espresso 450 and Espresso 500 line of platforms provides enhanced performance for 2G, 3G and 4G networks, low-power optimisation for voice and high-speed data, and a compact form factor. A company release said its portfolio of products would expand significantly in the near future. Icera is a specialist in multi-protocol wireless baseband processors with RF components. Its technology scales from 2G to 4G networks, using a custom-built, low-power processor.

“This is a key step in Nvidia’s plans to be a major player in the mobile computing revolution,” said Jen-Hsun Huang, president and chief executive of Nvidia. “Adding Icera’s technology to Tegra gives us an outstanding platform to support the industry’s best phones and tablets. Icera is a perfect fit for us. Our businesses are complementary.”

Proven track record

Huang added that Icera has the right team, with a strong, proven track record. “And their nimble, entrepreneurial, engineering-focused culture mirrors our own,” he explained. “We intend to continue to collaborate with its existing baseband partners and respect its customers’ preferences in combining application and baseband processors.

Stan Boland, President and chief executive of Icera, said Nvidia’s Tegra processor has the most impressive roadmap in the industry, and it is an ideal match for Icera. “As part of Nvidia, we will be able to reach a broader market,” Boland said. “Our team has collaborated closely with Nvidia for several years on a range of projects, and we’re delighted to be joining forces.”