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4 December 2006


RFMD to sell Bluetooth assets for $39m to Qualcomm and collaborate on complementary cellular products

GaAs RFIC and module maker RF Micro Devices Inc of Greensboro, NC, USA has agreed to sell most of its Bluetooth assets (specifically those based in San Diego, CA, USA, related to its SiW1722 and RF4000 series) for $39m to San Diego-based Qualcomm Inc. As a result of the transaction, RFMD anticipates a significant reduction in Bluetooth-related expenses. However, RFMD will retain and continue to market and sell its CDMA products SiW1712 and SiW1721 as well as its SiW3000 and SiW3500system-on-chip (SoC) products, which represented most of its Bluetooth product revenue in Q3/2006.

The deal is expected to give Qualcomm (which provides digital wireless communications technologies and data solutions based on CDMA) access to next-generation Bluetooth technology. Qualcomm will integrate RFMD’s
Bluetooth Enhanced Data Rate (EDR) technology into its Mobile Station Modem (MSM) reference designs to offer more complete solutions. RFMD's San Diego-based team designs technology for both the mobile handset and headset markets.

Qualcomm is also acquiring WLAN technology provider Airgo Networks Inc of Palo Alto, CA, USA. “As the attach rate for Bluetooth and WLAN features in mobile handsets is poised to grow past the critical tipping point, these acquisitions become very timely,” says Chris Ambrosio, director of wireless device strategies for Strategy Analytics.

The deal allows RFMD to increase its focus on its highest-growth wireless business opportunities, including cellular transceivers, cellular power amplifiers, wireless local area network (WLAN) power amplifiers, global positioning system (GPS) components and gallium nitride high-power amplifiers.

But the sale will also enable RFMD to accelerate its expansion into new markets while streamlining its cost structure, says president and CEO Bob Bruggeworth. “RFMD also looks forward to working with Qualcomm with products complementary to their portfolio such as cellular PAs and WLAN front-end modules,” he adds. “RFMD hopes to become a broader development partner to Qualcomm’s entire product portfolio for complementary products such as power amplifiers and front-end modules.”

“The sale of these assets marks the first time the companies have worked together on this scale,” said Jerry Neal, RFMD’s executive VP of marketing and strategic development. “Our long-term relationship with Qualcomm continues to evolve,” he adds. “We look forward to continuing our support of current Bluetooth customers.”

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