A spokesperson for Texas headquartered Silicon Labs described the “talent” present at Ember’s Cambridge Science Park IC design centre as “part of the rationale for our acquisition of Ember.”
The Cambridge design centre currently employs around 12 but the new owner says it would “anticipate growing the team over time.” The base was established in 2004 when MIT spin-out Ember acquired a package of Zigbee technology from Cambridge Consultants, along with the design team that developed it.
Nick Horne, the group leader at Cambridge Consultants became director of IC engineering at Ember Europe and becomes design engineering director at Silicon Laboratories following the latest acquisition.
Along similar lines to the engineering feats managed by another Cambridge Consultants spin-out CSR, Horne’s team is credited with developing the ZigBee industry's first single chip solution, integrating both radio and microcontroller.
Ember’s EM351 ZigBee chip is is powered by fellow Cambridge company ARM’s Cortex-M3 processor.
Silicon Labs says the acquisition will help it build a leading position in what is expected to be the first 10 billion unit per year market, the Internet of Things: “This strategic acquisition brings Silicon Labs the technology and software expertise required to enable the low-power mesh sensor networks being deployed today in a wide range of residential, commercial and industrial applications.
"The demand for low-power, small-footprint wireless technology is accelerating as more and more IP-enabled end points are being connected to the ‘Internet of Things.’”
Silicon Labs’ acquisition of Ember closed on July 9, with the initial $72m consideration “subject to an adjustment for certain working capital amounts and potential earn-out consideration.” Ember is expected to contribute around $10-$12 million in revenue in the second half of 2012.
Silicon Labs, which employs around 900 worldwide has developed a number of networking, broadcast and general purpose single chip products. It has a market cap of $1.58Bn.
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