Belfast semiconductor firm sold for €16m

5 Jul 2004

Belfast semiconductor intellectual property (IP) firm Amphion is understood to have been sold to US Nasdaq-listed firm Conexant for at least €16.2m as part of a cash and stock deal due to be announced later this month.

According to weekend reports, the deal will involve a combination of cash and stock, with performance payouts built into the deal. New Jersey headquartered Conexant employs over 2,200 staff, has annual revenues in excess of US$1.2bn and supplies semiconductor technologies for modems, PCs, broadband and TV set top boxes.

Belfast-based Amphion delivers high-performance solutions for video and image compression, wireless baseband, advanced encryption, and speech and channel coding with a comprehensive range of silicon-optimised products. Using proprietary techniques to directly map digital signal processing functions and algorithms into hardware, Amphion develops and licenses semiconductor intellectual-property (IP) cores that are close to optimal in terms of power, cycles, and area – computationally up to several orders of magnitude more efficient than equivalent functions implemented on a programmable processor.

The systems-on-a-chip technology that the company specialises in is the engine behind the rapid explosion in consumer electronic products such as digital cellular phones, handheld personal digital assistants, and digital high density television.

Amphion was spun out of Queens University Belfast in 1994 and is backed by ACT Venture Capital, Enterprise Equity in Belfast, Invest Northern Ireland and Apax Partners.

The company has over 35 staff in Northern Ireland, the US, the UK and Japan and last year closed a €5m funding round.

By John Kennedy