Samsung has acquired the mobile business of British chipmaker CSR for $310 million. CSR, a public company, has been hit by the falling fortunes of its customers such as Research in Motion and Nokia, with its share price dropping by as much as 50 percent in the past couple of years. There also appears to be a global patent play here for Samsung in its ongoing fight with rivals such as Apple. CSR could prove a useful arrow in Samsung’s quiver.
Samsung is also purchasing a 4.9 percent stake of the main CSR company itself for another $35 million, which secures its access to CSR’s IP and its ownership of 21 U.S. patents in mobile technology.
CSR – which specialises in Bluetooth, GPS, WiFi and other chips – will sell its 300-person mobile business in an all-cash deal. The operation will become part of Samsung’s component division, which also happens to supply electronics to the likes of Apple and others. CSR’s new focus will now be on its so-called “five high growth markets” of Voice & Music, Automotive Infotainment, Indoors Location, Imaging and Bluetooth.
CSR CEO Joep van Beurden said that “under Samsung’s ownership the handset operations will be in a better position to prosper in the global handset market.”
Last year CSR bought Zoran, a U.S. video chip specialist, for $484 million, though 1,000 jobs were subsequently cut and preceded heavy losses at CSR, leading to shareholder angst. Though that blow will now be softened for them by the Samsung deal, with around $285 million being issued as a dividend.