Massana acquired for €21m

26 Aug 2003

Irish communications chip company Massana has been acquired by US firm Agere Systems in an all-share deal valued at €21.1m (US$26.2m).

Under the terms of the deal, Massana’s shareholders, which include several venture capital firms and its three founders, will receive 9.1 million shares in Agere, each worth US$2.88 at the time of the transaction. Agere expects the acquisition will have a minimal impact on its earnings in the current quarter, and for the fiscal 2004 it will be dilutive to earnings by $0.01 to $0.02 per share.

The deal follows a difficult time for Dublin-based Massana, which had fostered ambitions to become Ireland’s first semiconductor manufacturer.

Agere now plans to harness Massana’s capabilities to quickly deliver Gigabit Ethernet chips to address the transition of enterprise networks from Fast Ethernet to Gigabit Ethernet speeds. Approximately 45 Massana employees will join Agere.

Today, enterprise networks typically run at speeds of 10/100 megabits-per-second over the current installed base, which consists mostly of copper networks. Gigabit Ethernet-over-copper technology can deliver ten times that speed to businesses over the same copper networks. Agere will supply Gigabit Ethernet chips to Ethernet switch providers as well as PC and server original equipment manufacturers, as these OEMs migrate their products to Gigabit Ethernet to take advantage of the faster speeds at minimal additional costs.

Market research firm IDC estimates that the Ethernet integrated circuit (IC) total available market in 2005 will be US$2.5bn. The Gigabit Ethernet silicon segment of the Ethernet IC market is expected to have a compound annual growth rate of 37pc from 2002 to 2005. Massana’s Gigabit Ethernet-over-copper physical layer device (PHY) device has been tested and validated by the University of New Hampshire.

“Massana stood out in the Gigabit Ethernet field because of its superior smart math architecture, which delivers better signal-to-noise ratio and lower power consumption, enabling more efficient multiport solutions,” said Ed Roberts, vice president and general manager of Agere’s new Ethernet Division. “With Massana’s technology and talent, we now own ground-breaking intellectual property that will enable us to succeed in the Gigabit Ethernet market moving forward.”

By John Kennedy