Broadcom Corporation (Nasdaq: BRCM), a global leader in semiconductors for wired and wireless communications, announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Global Locate, Inc., a privately-held, fabless provider of industry-leading global positioning system (GPS) and assisted GPS (A-GPS) semiconductor products and software. GPS is expected to join Bluetooth(R) and similar wireless technologies as a pervasive feature in next generation mobile devices. Global Locate’s semiconductor solutions are used in mobile phones from leading cellular handset makers and incorporated into products from TomTom NV, the largest personal navigation device (PND) vendor in the world.
GPS products and location based services (LBS) are increasing in popularity with consumers and cellular service providers as both take advantage of the ability to identify exact geographical location by means of faint radio signals transmitted from a system of orbiting satellites. Growing consumer interest in these applications is driving the GPS chip market, which is expected to grow to $1.07 billion annually by 2012 according to market research firm Forward Concepts. The latest generation of PNDs provides location, points of interest and turn-by-turn navigation, features that are attracting increasing adoption among consumers. Cellular service providers also plan to incorporate GPS chips in mobile phones to meet government regulations for emergency 911 calls and to increase their average revenue per user (ARPU) with location based services.
Broadcom expects the demand for GPS devices to increase dramatically as the deployment of GPS in mobile phones increases. Combining Global Locate’s GPS technology with Broadcom’s leading Bluetooth, Wi-Fi(R), cellular and other mobile technologies will provide leading handset makers with wireless connectivity solutions that add significant value to feature and smart phone products.
Global Locate has focused on GPS chip and navigation technology since it was founded in 1999. The company is currently producing its third generation of GPS chips and has developed a worldwide GPS reference network that provides assistance data to its A-GPS-equipped chips via cellular data channels (GPRS or 3G), boosting performance and reducing the time required to determine a location by up to 100 times.
“With the acquisition of Global Locate, Broadcom will be the only semiconductor supplier in the world with top-tier customers in Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, FM radio and GPS, four of the key wireless technologies now being added to next generation mobile phones,” said Robert A. Rango, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Broadcom’s Wireless Connectivity Group. “We are also pleased to add Global Locate’s strong patent portfolio of over 175 issued and pending U.S. and foreign patents to our already robust patent portfolio.”
“The combination of Global Locate’s navigation expertise with Broadcom’s well-known leadership in CMOS RF technology will enable Broadcom to develop a new generation of standalone GPS chips as well as GPS chips that incorporate other wireless standards, accelerating the adoption of GPS into all sorts of consumer devices,” said Scott D. Pomerantz, President and Chief Executive Officer of Global Locate. “Joining with Broadcom and its leading position in wireless technologies like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, we can accelerate the penetration of Global Locate’s GPS technology into mobile phones and at the same time accelerate the penetration of Broadcom’s other wireless products into personal navigation devices.”
Global Locate’s solutions are ideal for high volume GPS-enabled products like PNDs and cellular phone handsets where navigation performance and high sensitivity needs are coupled with requirements for low power consumption and small form factors. While many existing GPS solutions consist of two separate chips, a separate baseband and radio, Global Locate has integrated both into a single-chip CMOS product.
Global Locate offers products specifically optimized to add GPS cost effectively as a feature in devices such as mobile phones. In cellular applications where a wireless network connection is available, Global Locate’s products can also access assistance data to enable more rapid “time to fix” performance. For example, traditional GPS can take as long as several minutes to determine location in the best conditions, but with Global Locate’s assistance data, that time can be reduced to just a few seconds.
The acquisition also includes Global Locate’s innovative World Wide Reference Network (WWRN) providing real time A-GPS data as well as Long-Term Orbit (LTO) solutions to provide assistance even when a network connection is not available. Several carriers, including one of the most widely used A-GPS networks in North America, have adopted Global Locate’s A-GPS server solution to provide location based services, which dramatically increases their revenue per usage metrics.
Broadcom’s Wireless Connectivity Group has been one of the company’s fastest growing businesses over the last three years. This growth has been driven by the adoption of Bluetooth in mobile phones, the proliferation of Wi-Fi technology in the home, and the expansion of Voice over IP (VoIP) services by telecommunications carriers. Broadcom anticipates that GPS will be a significant growth driver for its wireless connectivity business as GPS is adopted in mobile phones and other consumer devices.
In connection with the acquisition, Broadcom expects to pay approximately $146 million net in cash at closing in exchange for all outstanding shares of capital stock and other rights of Global Locate. A portion of the consideration payable to the stockholders of Global Locate will be placed into escrow pursuant to the terms of the acquisition agreement. Additional consideration of up to $80 million in cash will be reserved for future payment to the former holders of Global Locate capital stock and other rights upon satisfaction of certain performance goals. The boards of directors of both companies have approved the merger. The closing, which is expected to occur during Broadcom’s third quarter ending September 30, remains subject to customary closing conditions. Broadcom may record a one-time charge for purchased in-process research and development expenses when the closing occurs. The amount of that charge, if any, has not yet been determined.
Broadcom Corporation is a major technology innovator and global leader in semiconductors for wired and wireless communications. Broadcom products enable the delivery of voice, video, data and multimedia to and throughout the home, the office and the mobile environment. We provide the industry’s broadest portfolio of state-of-the-art, system-on-a-chip and software solutions to manufacturers of computing and networking equipment, digital entertainment and broadband access products, and mobile devices. These solutions support our core mission: Connecting everything(R).
Broadcom is one of the world’s largest fabless semiconductor companies, with 2006 revenue of $3.67 billion, and holds over 2,000 U.S. and 800 foreign patents, more than 6,000 additional pending patent applications, and one of the broadest intellectual property portfolios addressing both wired and wireless transmission of voice, video and data. Broadcom is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and has offices and research facilities in North America, Asia and Europe.
About Global Locate, Inc.
Global Locate, Inc. is a privately-held company that provides GPS semiconductor products and software for mobile phones, personal navigation devices and networks. The company has more than 175 U.S. & foreign patents issued or pending relating to GPS and assisted GPS (A-GPS) technology, and its product suite includes Hammerhead(R), the world’s first commercial single-die GPS receiver. Global Locate is headquartered in San Jose, Calif. with offices in the New York metropolitan area, Tokyo, Taipei and Madrid.