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Silicon Labs gets 2.4GHz wireless mesh networking tech

25 May 2012

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Silicon Laboratories Inc. has bought Ember Corp. for an initial $72 million, subject to adjustment for certain working capital amounts and potential earn-out consideration. Ember offers silicon, software and development tools for 2.4GHz wireless mesh networking solutions being deployed in smart energy, connected home, security, lighting, and many other monitoring and control applications.

This strategic acquisition brings Silicon Labs the technology and software expertise required to enable the low-power mesh sensor networks being deployed in residential, commercial and industrial applications. The demand for low-power, small-footprint wireless technology is accelerating as more and more IP-enabled end points are being connected to the "Internet of Things."

The Ember portfolio complements Silicon Labs' products and targets a growing market estimated to increase from $100 million this year to $600 million by 2016. The combination of the companies' products will bring together MCU, power and isolation technology, sensors, and both sub-GHz and 2.4GHz wireless radios into a comprehensive portfolio of highly integrated networking solutions for embedded systems.

Ember clams to be a pioneer in the market for 802.15.4 ZigBee solutions, developing mesh networking technology since the concept was first conceived. The company's products integrate high-performance, low-power 2.4GHz wireless ICs with reliable and scalable networking software into a platform with unmatched performance and flexibility, noted the company.

Silicon Labs expects that the addition of Ember's high-performance SoC portfolio, advanced networking software expertise, and a proven design and applications team will contribute to the rapid expansion of its Broad-based business. Silicon Labs intends to apply the underlying technology platform and expertise to enable low-power mesh networking in not only home but also industrial and commercial applications. Further, both companies' products leverage the same underlying development environment, which is expected to accelerate the combined roadmap and support rapid adoption among the existing customer base.

Ember is expected to contribute about $10-$12 million in revenue in 2H12 and to be accretive on a non-GAAP basis in 2013. The boards of each company have approved the acquisition, which awaits the satisfaction of regulatory requirements and other customary closing conditions. In conjunction with this all-cash acquisition, Silicon Labs' board of directors has authorized management to pursue a $200 million credit facility that could be used for stock repurchases and for other general corporate purposes.

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