Intel has won the Basis auction, we’re hearing, at a price of around $100 million, according to one source. A second source pegs the deal at closer to $150 million.
Basis makes wristwatch health trackers, capturing 7 percent of the market versus competitor Jawbone’s 21 percent. As Intel was all about the wearables this year at CES, we’re assuming that this buy is an attempt to further its foothold (wristhold?) in the space.
Intel made a lot of noise with its own reference designs at the conference, including a Siri-like Bluetooth headset named Jarvis and a smart chip it dubbed Edison, which has myriad applied uses, including smart baby clothing and even smart mugs.
Intel likely doesn’t have aspirations to compete in the consumer electronic marketplace; the company wants to sell chipset platforms. But by acquiring Basis, it gains access to a team that has built one of the most powerful and comprehensive wearables to date, which it then can set upon its own designs.
Intel is playing catch-up to rivals such as Qualcomm, Texas Instruments and STMicroelectronics, which are currently providing the bulk of the sensors for wearables. Intel not only needs to sell brands on buying Intel’s wearable platforms, but provide complete solutions in order to jumpstart adoption. With its robust online suite, Basis provides a solid foundation for that complete package.
We had heard that Basis had been talking to Google and others about an acquisition, at a price that was less than $100 million. Perhaps Intel outbid them all? Or a couple of suitors passed?
Basis is funded by Norwest Venture Partners, Mayfield Fund and Intel Capital, with over $30 million invested in the company. The Intel Capital connection is especially interesting considering the company’s new ownership.
Additional reporting by Matt Burns.