Qualcomm to buy Bluetooth and GPS chip designer CSR for $2.5B

Qualcomm's bid trumped a bid from Microchip

Qualcomm has agreed to buy chip company CSR in a move to strengthen its focus on the Internet of Things (IoT) and connected cars.

Cambridge-based CSR develops wireless communications, audio and GPS chips for the automotive and consumer products markets. It also makes chips for indoor location services.

Qualcomm plans to use CSR's expertise to strengthen its focus on IoT applications, as well as for its in-car infotainment division. Both business areas are fast growing and in order to become an important player in those fields, Qualcomm is willing to pay around £1.6 billion (US$2.5 billion at current exchange rates), Qualcomm said Wednesday, valuing the company at a significant premium over its closing stock price on Tuesday. CSR designs a wide range of chips and software for mobile phones and other devices, including location technology that combines information from several satellite networks, and software platforms that combine multiple wireless technologies including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, FM and GPS. The company also develops low-energy Bluetooth chips and technology that can be used to connect low-power devices including wireless headphones to the latest smartphones and tablets. Qualcomm's bid for CSR beat an offer from rival Microchip, whose bid to buy CSR was rejected in August as the undisclosed offer was too low. However, talks between CSR and Microchip continued after that. Qualcomm competitor and former CSR shareholder Samsung Electronics sold its entire stake in the company in January. In 2012 Samsung bought 21 connectivity patents from CSR for $310 million.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, online payment issues as well as EU technology policy and regulation for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

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