CAMBRIDGE, England Processor design licensing company ARM Holdings plc is acquiring Triscend Corp., a developer of configurable system-on-chip devices and customizable microcontrollers, for $13.2 million in cash with the potential for further cash payments depending on future performance.
Up to an additional $1.8 million could be paid by ARM depending on certain revenue targets being reached in the first year after completion of the deal.
The acquisition would also mark ARM's first move toward becoming a fabless chip company.
Privately held Triscend (Mountain View, Calif.) was formed in 1997 and has 41 staff. Its single-chip platform is designed to provide customized system-on-chip devices combining the flexibility of a field-programmable device and the price point of a standard product.
The company had worked with Hitachi's Super-H processor cores. More recently it had developed custom system-on-chip platforms around ARM cores. In October 2002, Reynette Au, previously president of ARM's U.S. subsidiary became president and chief executive officer of Triscend. With the acquisition, Triscend would bring microcontroller platform designs and supporting tools to the company, ARM said.
A program will be launched within existing ARM Partner Programs to provide a migration to transfer mature MCU designs into ARM Partners' standard products and ASIC for high-volume applications.
Warren East, ARM's chief executive officer, said, “Given the industry trend for upgrading 8- and 16-bit MCU designs, ARM believes the 32-bit MCU market will grow substantially over the next few years. By investing in this market now with the acquisition of Triscend, the ARM partnership will be well positioned to take advantage of the anticipated growth.”
Au added, “With the rise in costs of ASIC design at 90 nanometers, we believe configurable MCU platforms will become a key solution which will benefit our mutual customers.”
–Additional reporting by Peter Clarke.