Broadcom buys Beceem

Chip maker Broadcom has snapped up communications specialist Beceem in a $316 million deal designed to boost the company's next-generation wireless offerings.

The deal, announced today by Broadcom, has been approved by the boards of both companies and will see Beceem folded in to Broadcom - engineers and all.

The acquisition, which has cost Broadcom $316 million (around £198 million) in cash, gives the company access to Beceem's engineering expertise in Long Term Evolution, or LTE, wireless networking - helping Broadcom to shore up its mobile broadband offerings.

Although Broadcom already offers Wi-Fi and 3G transceiver chips in its product lines, it has yet to launch a commercialised 4G offering - something that the smaller Beceem has already achieved, with both LTE and WiMax offerings available for purchase.

4G networks promise far greater speeds than is achievable with the current 3G HSPA network, opening up the possibility for the technology to be used in both mobile and fixed-location devices for quick, fast broadband connections - a market which is likely to grow over the coming years.

The deal awaits regulatory approval, which should go smoothly given the size of the two companies involved.