Chipmaker Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) will announce in the next few days that it is acquiring Israeli start up DesignArt Networks, which develops components for wireless communications infrastructures. The announcement will come after protracted negotiations. The official announcement will probably not include the amount of the acquisition, which is not significant for Qualcomm, but it is believed to be about $120-140 million including milestone payments that DesignArt will be required to meet. Quallcomm, the world's largest supplier of chips for 3G mobile technologies, has a market cap of about $105 billion.
DesignArt was founded in 2006 by CEO Oz Barak, CTO Assaf Touboul and Avishay Mor. Since then the company has raised $30 million from Carmel Ventures, Magma Venture Partners and Motorola Ventures. The company also received a loan from the Plenus Venture Lending Fund. Headquartered in Raanana, DesignArt focuses on data-centric mobile radio access network (RAN) with highly integrated system-on-chip (SoC) platforms and trial-ready embedded SW solutions for the mobile 3G, 4G and high-speed wireless backhaul infrastructure. This area is problematic because a major portion of content needs on mobile phones is based on video and multimedia.
Qualcomm has an R&D center in Haifa with 250 employees, managed by Eyal Bar-David, and this will not be Qualcomm's first acquisition in Israel. In 2010, Qualcomm acquired mobile web company iSkoot for $50-100 million.This latest acquisition will probably become part of the Qualcomm Atheros Division, based on the acquisition of Atheros for $3.1 billion in 2011. Atheros mainly supplies Qualcomm with non-cellular communications solutions such as local networks, and end-user computer and communications products. The acquisition of DesignArt will enable Qualcomm-Atheros to enter a new area, more based on infrastructures in which it is currently almost not active.
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