Qualcomm makes play for wearables and IoT by buying CSR for US$2.5bn

15 Oct 2014

US chipmaker Qualcomm is to acquire UK Bluetooth specialist CSR plc for US$2.5bn in a move that will give it room to manoeuvre in the emerging market for wearable computing devices and the internet of things.

The acquisition will also give Qualcomm, maker of the popular Snapdragon processor found in the majority of smartphones today, an additional lead in the fast-moving automotives space.

Qualcomm has agreed to pay stg£9 a share for CSR, which represents a 56.5pc premium on the company’s share price.

CSR had previously spurned an offer to buy the company from Microchip Technology, because the asking price wasn’t high enough.

Qualcomm’s cash offer has been unanimously accepted by CSR’s board of directors.

“The addition of CSR’s technology leadership in Bluetooth, Bluetooth Smart1 and audio processing will strengthen Qualcomm’s position in providing critical solutions that drive the rapid growth of the internet of everything, including business areas such as portable audio, automotive and wearable devices,” said Steve Mollenkopf, chief executive officer of Qualcomm Incorporated.

“Combining CSR’s highly advanced offering of connectivity technologies with a strong track record of success in these areas will unlock new opportunities for growth.

“We look forward to working with the innovative CSR team globally and further strengthening our technology presence in Cambridge and the UK,” Mollenkopf said.

Bluetooth image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years