Irish chipmaker Decawave snapped up in mega deal worth $400m

30 Jan 2020

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After almost 13 years in business, Dublin-based Decawave will be acquired by US company Qorvo.

Decawave, the Irish chipmaker that is seen increasingly as a global player in technology related to the internet of things (IoT) and consumer commerce, has been snapped up by Qorvo. The Irish Times said that the deal is estimated to be worth around $400m (€363m).

The acquisition was announced this morning (30 January) with expectations that, as part of the deal, Decawave could see greater market penetration for its impulse radio ultra-wideband (IR-UWB) technology. US semiconductor company Qorvo counts Apple as one of its major customers.

IR-UWB is talked about as one of the next essential component technologies, like GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Already shipped in many smartphones and cars, IR-UWB provides highly accurate location services, secure communications and advanced analytics.

Scaling opportunity

Decawave was launched in 2007 by current CEO Ciaran Connell and CTO Michael McLaughlin, and was seen as a means of bringing a technology to market with the same impact as GPS had in the 1990s.

“We are thrilled to announce the acquisition of Decawave by Qorvo,” O’Connell said. “Joining forces with Qorvo’s leading expertise in radiofrequency technology, their experience in serving very high-volume markets like mobile but also the thousands of customers in industrial and enterprise is, for Decawave, a perfect combination to scale and further accelerate the adoption of IR-UWB.”

Eric Creviston, president of Qorvo mobile products, added: “We’re very pleased to welcome the Decawave team, which we believe will enhance Qorvo’s product and technology leadership while expanding new opportunities in mobile, automotive and IoT.

“We look forward to building on the groundbreaking work that Decawave has done and helping to drive new applications and businesses using their unique UWB capability.”

Since it was founded, Decawave has raised more than $60m, with $30m announced as part of a single round in 2018 that also created 100 jobs for the company. It’s understood that Qorvo had set aside $500m for a number of acquisitions, of which Decawave was seen as a key purchase.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic