Rambus buying Cryptography Research for $342.5 million

Rambus will add security technologies to its intellectual property portfolio

Rambus on Thursday said it has agreed to acquire security technology company Cryptography Research (CRI) for US$342.5 million in a cash and stock deal. The move could help the company address interest among chip makers to add security features on hardware.

Rambus, which develops and licenses memory technology, said the acquisition will expand its semiconductor licensing portfolio to include CRI's intellectual property (IP) for content protection, network security and anti-counterfeiting.

CRI is run by noted cryptographer Paul Kocher, who has been credited with helping author the SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) 3.0 standard. CRI's licensees include Samsung, Toshiba, Infineon, Microsoft, and NXP. Rambus said that over five billion semiconductor products are made annually under CRI's license.

Rambus is primarily known as a memory technology company for PCs and servers. The company recently expanded its range of offerings to include LEDs (light-emitting diodes) and mobile devices.

CRI's security technologies could apply across a range of technologies in Rambus' IP portfolio, Rambus’ CEO Harold Hughes said in a statement.

"With many billions of connected devices conducting electronic transactions, storing important personal data, and delivering copyrighted content, the needs for security are paramount," Hughes said.

Rambus licenses IP to chip makers, who are increasingly interested in adding security features on hardware. Intel in February completed the acquisition of security company McAfee for $7.68 billion. Intel at the time said that McAfee would help boost its software and on-chip security offerings.

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