Intel confirms acquisition of ST-Ericsson's GPS business

U.S. chipmaker agrees to acquire certain assets of ST-Ericsson's Global Navigation Satellite Systems business, and 130 employees from ST-Ericsson will join Intel as part of the deal.
Written by Ellyne Phneah, Contributor on
Intel signed an agreement to acquire certain assets of ST-Ericsson's Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) business on May 24, 2013.

Intel has confirmed it was the mystery buyer that acquired ST-Ericsson's global navigation satellite system (GNSS) business, after the sale was announced earlier on Tuesday.

ST-Ericsson, the joint venture between STMicroelectronics and Ericsson, said Tuesday a "leading semiconductor company" had bought its mobile connectivity GNSS unit. This includes personal receivers that interact with GPS technology and GLONASS--a radio-based satellite navigation system operated by the Russian Aerospace Defence Forces.

Nick Jacobs, a spokesperson from Intel Asia, has confirmed with ZDNet the U.S. chipmaker signed a definitive agreement to acquire certain assets of ST-Ericsson's GNSS business on May 24, 2013.

It is expected that the GNSS engineering team and its leadership, which has a combined total of about 130 employees will be integrated into Intel's Mobile and Communications Group's Wireless Platform R&D (WPRD) division, Jacobs added.

The team is based in Singapore, Bangalore, India, and Deventry, United Kingdom, he said. Employees based in the U.K and Singapore will remain at their current locations while those in India will join WPRD colleagues at Intel's existing Bangalore office.

"The deal extends Intel's investments in positioning technology with a team of industry veterans that has a successful track record of developing and commercializing GPS silicon spanning more than 20 years and 11 generations of GPS and GNSS silicon," Jacobs said.

While neither company revealed the price, ST-Ericsson estimated the sale of its GPS business will enable the chip manufacturer to avoid employee restructuring charges and other associated restructuring costs, which will end up saving the company US$90 million. The deal is also expected to be completed in August this year.

The company had failed in its three-month hunt for a buyer to take over the business in March this year. As a result, both companies decided to split up with Ericsson taking over LTE-related aspects and STMicroelectronics assuming existing products and business from the joint venture. Following the split, which is expected to conclude in the third quarter this year, 1,600 employees will be axed.

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