Imagination Technologies and ARM carve up MIPS

November 06, 2012 // By Nick Flaherty
After several years on the market, MIPS Technologies has been split up, with UK IP vendor Imagination Technologies taking the processor business and a consortium of companies led by ARM taking the majority of the patents.

Imagination will pay $60m for the processor IP business - the same as MIPS' revenue last year - and says it is committed to providing the MIPS cores alongside its other processor, communication and video IP cores. This will reassure large MIPS licensees such as Broadcom, Cavium and Microchip and extend the reach of Imagination's IP at the same time as wellas giving it a 64bit embedded core.
"MIPS is the company that pioneered the RISC CPU architecture and created an iconic and widely respected technology. I am absolutely delighted to welcome MIPS and its team to the Imagination family," said Hossein Yassaie, Chief Executive Officer at Imagination. "I believe that the combination of our existing Meta CPU technologies and activities with MIPS' capabilities will help us to create a new force to be reckoned with in the CPU IP market. I am confident the acquisition will accelerate our growth in the substantial CPU IP market across many segments. "We have been working closely with MIPS for several years now and have a number of mutual customers and partners. I believe that this transaction will be welcomed by both companies' customers and the electronics industry at large."
However the deal does not include 498 patents that are being sold separately to a consortium of companies that includes ARM. This $350m deal will be completed first, with ARM said to be contributing $167.5m to the deal which is led by Bridge Crossing, itself an acquisition vehicle of Allied Security Trust (AST). The funds being returned to MIPS shareholders.
The deal includes access to the patents for Imaginatin, a key point as the company has previously fallen out with ARM over video processing IP.
"After a thorough review of a wide range of alternatives to enhance shareholder value, our board of directors concluded that the best alternative for the company would be the sale of patent properties to a consortium formed by