Thursday, January 5, 2012

SuVolta Raises $17.6 Million in Venture Funding

LOS GATOS, CA--(Marketwire - Jan 5, 2012) - SuVolta, Inc., the developer of PowerShrink™ low-power IC technology that cuts chip power consumption by 50 to 90 percent, today announced that it has secured $17.6 million in venture funding. The company will use the funding to continue to develop low-power silicon technologies for the world's most advanced semiconductor processes. New investor Bright Capital participated in the round, joining all existing SuVolta investors including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB), August Capital, New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Northgate Capital, DAG Ventures and others.

"SuVolta's revolutionary PowerShrink transistor is a stunning and disruptive innovation, a true game-changer," said John Doerr, partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. "It solves the semiconductor industry's greatest challenge -- power -- without requiring billions of dollars investment in new fab facilities and chip designs. So partners and investors are racing to exploit this enormous opportunity."

"While the past five years have produced impressive innovations with the web and mobile devices, it's just as important that we continue advancing the underlying technologies that make these innovations possible," said Forest Baskett, general partner at NEA. "Unfortunately, the funding for core semiconductor technology has significantly declined over the same period. Funding a venture like SuVolta is important because we need companies striving to truly disrupt the status quo in the semiconductor industry."

The Global Semiconductor Alliance (GSA) shows supplier funding (e.g., IP, EDA/design, foundry, test, packaging) at $717.5M in 2007 compared to $272.2M in 2010, with 2011 tracking at roughly half the rate of last year as reported in the Global Semiconductor Funding, IPO and M&A Update.

The semiconductor industry recognizes the issue of power consumption must be addressed -- including Intel which introduced the Tri-Gate transistor in May 2011. SuVolta's PowerShrink™ low-power CMOS platform, enables semiconductor companies to cut chip power in half without sacrificing performance, losing functionality, or having to migrate to a more advanced -- and costly -- semiconductor process node.

"Power is now the biggest design constraint for electronic products. This funding demonstrates the excitement surrounding our technology which dramatically reduces power consumption in ICs," said Bruce McWilliams, president and CEO of SuVolta. "Lowering power consumption has far reaching benefits for a range of applications and products including mobile devices. SuVolta is pleased to be advancing the possibilities from continued scaling of planar, bulk CMOS technology."

At the International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) last month in Washington D.C., SuVolta along with its development partner and licensee, Fujitsu Semiconductor Limited, demonstrateddramatic power consumption reduction with the ultra-low-voltage operation of SRAM (static random access memory) blocks down to 0.425V.

About SuVolta, Inc.


SuVolta, Inc. develops and licenses scalable semiconductor technologies that enable a significant reduction in IC power consumption while maintaining performance. Based in Silicon Valley, the team includes world-class engineers and scientists with a long history of technology development and innovation to advance the semiconductor industry. The company is backed by leading venture capital firms Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB), August Capital, NEA, Bright Capital, Northgate Capital and DAG Ventures. For more information visit www.suvolta.com.

Mindspeed Technologies to Acquire Picochip

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Mindspeed Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: MSPD), a leading supplier of semiconductor solutions for network infrastructure applications, today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire U.K.-based Picochip Limited, a leading supplier of integrated system-on-chip (SoC) solutions for small cell base stations, for a purchase price of approximately $51.8 million, plus a potential earnout payment of up to $25 million payable in the first calendar quarter of 2013.

Together, Mindspeed and Picochip will offer the most comprehensive portfolio of base station semiconductor solutions on the market, from residential to enterprise to pico/metro applications. Through this timely combination, Mindspeed's enhanced product roadmap for single- and multi-mode 3G/4G solutions will enable it to capitalize on the rapid acceleration of the small cell wireless base station market, while also addressing comprehensive support for all 3G and 4G global air interface standards. Management estimates the total addressable market for the combined entity will grow to $3.0 billion by 2016. Management also believes technology synergies, operational synergies and opportunities for cross-selling products within each company’s customer base are substantial.The expected acquisition will create the clear market leader in small cell base station solutions for next generation mobile broadband communications infrastructure, an explosive growth market. Research firm Mobile Experts LLC predicts small cell base station shipments will grow to 24 million units by 2016, creating a market for alternative cells, which could exceed the macrocell market in terms of transceiver unit shipments during the next four years.

For Picochip, Mindspeed will pay cash of $27.5 million and approximately 5.19 million in new shares of Mindspeed common stock, amounting to approximately 15 percent of outstanding Mindspeed shares, for a total of $24.3 million, based upon the closing price of Mindspeed’s common stock on January 4, 2012. The cash portion of the initial purchase price will be financed in part with bank debt. The terms also include an earnout provision, whereby the purchase price can increase by up to $25 million, contingent on the achievement of certain milestones. The earnout, which is payable in the first calendar quarter of 2013, may be paid in cash, Mindspeed common stock or a combination thereof, at Mindspeed’s discretion.

The transaction has been approved by Mindspeed’s and Picochip’s boards of directors and is subject to certain closing conditions. The transaction is expected to close in the first calendar quarter of 2012. Mindspeed currently expects the acquisition, inclusive of anticipated synergies, to be accretive to non-GAAP earnings per share in the second half of calendar 2012.

“Our acquisition of Picochip establishes our position as a global leader in wireless infrastructure semiconductor solutions for next generation mobile broadband communications,” said Raouf Y. Halim, chief executive officer of Mindspeed. “It is a great strategic fit for several reasons. First, it positions Mindspeed as the clear leader in small cell base station technology with the industry’s broadest small cell product offering, addressing a significantly expanded market opportunity of $3.0 billion by 2016. Second, it enhances our competitive position as we join our respective 3G/4G technologies to offer single- and multi-mode solutions that we believe will provide us a time-to-market and product performance advantage relative to competitors. Third, it gives us the scale to lead the industry’s move toward fixed/mobile broadband convergence; a trend which we believe will drive revenue and earnings growth for Mindspeed in the future.”

Nigel Toon, chief executive officer and president of Picochip, stated, “Mindspeed is the ideal acquirer for us. Together, we have valuable technology and customer synergies, given Picochip’s carrier-qualified 3G wireless technology leadership with over 70 percent market share in 3G/high-speed packet access (HSPA) and Mindspeed’s proven pathway as the long-term evolution (LTE) small cell pioneer with the Transcede® product family. Our combined resources create one of the largest SoC development groups in the wireless infrastructure sector with complementary intellectual property scale and expertise to deliver the solutions that this fast-moving market demands.”

Raymond James & Associates, Inc. is acting as Mindspeed’s financial advisor, and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, P.C. is serving as Mindspeed’s legal advisor. Barclays Capital is acting as Picochip’s financial advisor and Fenwick & West LLP is serving as Picochip’s legal advisor.

About Mindspeed Technologies

Mindspeed Technologies (NASDAQ: MSPD) is a leading provider of network infrastructure semiconductor solutions to the communications industry. The company's low-power system-on-chip (SoC) products are helping to drive video, voice and data applications in worldwide fiber-optic networks and enable advanced processing for 3G and long-term evolution (LTE) mobile networks. The company's high-performance analog products are used in a variety of optical, enterprise, industrial and video transport systems. Mindspeed's products are sold to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) around the globe.

About Picochip

Picochip is enabling the next generation of wireless infrastructure. Its picoXcell™ family of optimized silicon devices is the leader in the fast growing market for femtocell access points. Its picoArray™ family of flexible wireless processors is the leading solution for OFDMA-based network equipment, and is backed by comprehensive software support for global standards such as EDGE, HSPA, HSPA+, TD-SCDMA, WiMAX, LTE, cdma2000 and GSM. Located in Bath, UK and Beijing, China, Picochip is re-shaping mobile networks.

For more information, visit www.picochip.com and Twitter: @picochip_femto.