Parks Associates Blog

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

CSR Bought SiRF in an All-Stock Deal

In a logic move, UK-based Bluetooth technology provider CSR locked in a merger agreement with battered GPS receiver chip maker SiRF. SiRF counts many portable navigation device makers—GARMIN, TomTom, Mio—as customers. But as these customers increasingly looked for additional suppliers with integrated solutions, SiRF’s order volume dropped, along with its stock price. In late 2007, SiRF tried to enter the mobile GPS chipset market with the acquisition of Centrality, but the plan seemed backfired and the company was unable to recover since then. During the same period of time, many larger silicon vendors began to catch up on the GPS front, including Broadcom, ST Micro, TI, Atheros, and CSR. At this year’s CES, I met CSR’s executives and was quite impressed with its Bluetooth technology. Of course, all the GPS demos were simulated as we were all in a hotel room. But CSR’s strategy to integrate multiple radio technologies onto the same circuit board is clearly hitting the sweet spot of the market. The SiRF acquisition is one additional step in that direction. Whether the deal can be considered a success or not will be first reflected in the combined entity’s ability to stop customer exodus, particularly on the mobile side.

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