Freescale to Buy Mindspeed's ARM Chip Unit

The deal will give Freescale more capabilities in building ARM-based processors for such areas as the Internet of things.

Freescale is bolstering its capabilities in such areas as home automation, the Internet of things and the cloud through the acquisition of Mindspeed Technologies' communications processor business.

Freescale officials announced the deal April 7, saying the semiconductor company—which has strengths in embedded and communications processors for networking equipment—is buying Mindspeed's Comcerto CPE business. Through the acquisition, Freescale will inherit a range of multi-core embedded processors based on ARM's architecture as well as associated software, key members of the business and a top-tier global customer base.

The move will help Freescale extend its reach in growing markets, according to Tom Dietrich, senior vice president and general manager for Freescale's Digital Networking product group.

"This acquisition will extend Freescale’s reach into gateways and network-attached storage at a time when both are on the cusp of advances in ease-of-use cloud technology, home automation and security, and the Internet of things (IoT)," Deitrich said in a statement. "These products will also extend the breadth of our networking multi-core processor portfolio, present new revenue growth opportunities, and allow us to offer even more options to our customers."

Mindspeed's Comcerto business includes the 100, 1000 and 2000 families of embedded chips, which are designed to help OEMs develop systems that address a range of applications, from high-end voice-over-IP (VoIP)-enabled gateways to SMB security systems to 802.11n enterprise-level wireless access points powered by Ethernet, according to company officials. The chips are based on ARM's architecture.

Some members of the Comcerto team will join Freescale following the sale, which is expected to close in the second quarter. The companies did not release financial terms of the deal.

Macom Technology Solutions bought Mindspeed last year, and has sold off other pieces of the company. In December, Intel officials announced that it had bought Mindspeed's wireless infrastructure unit to bolster is mobile and networking capabilities.

The Mindspeed deal continues a busy year for Freescale, which in February announced it was sampling a tiny ARM-based controller chip for the IoT, the Kinetis KL03 MCU. In March at the Open Networking Summit, Freescale unveiled its VortiQa solutions for software-defined networking (SDN), including an open network director and switch software.