John Walko
EE Times Europe
(12/04/2006 8:33 AM EST)

LONDON — Qualcomm is beefing up its offerings in both the WiFi and Bluetooth chip sectors with the acquisition of Airgo Networks Inc. and the majority of RF Micro Devices Bluetooth assets.

The company is paying $39 million for the bulk of RFMD’s Bluetooth group, including the intellectual property related to the next generation SiW17722 and RF4000 series devices that are based on the Enhanced Data Rate Bluetooth specification.

The teams being acquired are mainly those working at RFMD’s San Diego facility working on devices for handsets and headsets.

RFMD (Greensboro, NC.) said the move would allow it to focus on its other wireless related activities, including cellular transceivers, power amplifiers and GPS components, as well as Gallium Nitride based high power amplifiers.

It is retaining the Bluetooth product range that currently forms the bulk of revenues of the Bluetooth operation, including the SiW3000 and 3500 product families.

As part of the deal, the companies said they would “work together” with products complementary to each others’ portfolio, such as cellular PA’s and WLAN front-end modules.

Qualcomm (San Diego) is not saying how much it paid for privately-owned Airgo (Palo Alto, Calif.), a pioneer and patents right owner of MIMO technology for the high data rate 802.11n WiFi chips to be used in both WLAN access points and PCs.

Dr. Sanjay K. Jha, president of Qualcomm CDMA Technologies, said: “With these two acquisitions, we will continue to extend our leadership in mobile broadband and will be offering our partners comprehensive chipsets with seamlessly integrated features.”

Qualcomm said it would integrate Airgo’s 802.11a/b/g and 802.11n technology into some of its own Mobile Station Modem chipsets and that it would use Airgo’s technology for chipsets on the new Snapdragon broadband wireless platform.

The company said the acquisitions are expected to close by the end of the year and estimates the combined effect of the deals would be dilutive by approximately $0.04 per share in its fiscal year ending September 2007, and modestly accretive in FY08.

Simultaneously with the Airgo acquisition, Qualcomm announced the availability of what it says is “the world’s first chipset offering full support for Draft 2.0 of the 802.11n standard.”