Nvidia to buy British baseband chip outfit Icera

Graphics chip firm Nvidia said it intends to snaffle up British baseband chip outfit Icera, in a cash deal worth some $367 million (£225 million).

Icera designs baseband processors for 3G and 4G mobile phones and claims more than 550 patents granted or pending worldwide. Either some of these are pretty low-scale or Nvidia has bagged itself a bargain.

Nvidia said it intends to combine Icera's chippery with its own mobile ARMoury, in particular its Tegra offering. It said that by offering the "two main processors" used in smartphones the combined outfit will help OEM customers improve their time to market It claimed it will also double its "revenue opportunity" within each device.

Jen-Hsun Huang, president and CEO of Nvidia. said the deal was "a key step" in what he called Nvidia's plans to be a major player in the "mobile computing revolution".

"Icera is a perfect fit for Nvidia," he burbled in a statement. "Our businesses are complementary. Icera has the right team, with a strong, proven track record. And their nimble, entrepreneurial, engineering-focused culture mirrors our own," he said.

Stan Boland, president and CEO of Bristol-based Icera, called Nvidia's Tegra processor roadmap "the most impressive in the industry."

He added: "Our team has collaborated closely with Nvidia for several years on a range of projects, and we're delighted to be joining forces."

Icera has approximately 300 employees in seven countries in Europe and Asia, as well as the US. Neither Nvidia nor Icera could clarify what their fate may be at the time of going to press.