Will ST-Ericsson Be Sold?

ST-Ericsson, the joint venture between ST-Microelectronics and Ericsson, is rumoured to be preparing a "major operations revamp" by the end of the month which could prepare the chip designer for a takeover by a peer or a rival.

A Reuters article published by Nadia Damouni and Tarmo Virki has been told by three sources with a thorough knowledge of the situation that potential buyers could include Intel, AMD, Nvidia, Texas Instruments and even Qualcomm.

One of them even went as far as to acknowledge that buying ST-Ericsson would be "the only answer to Qualcomm". Like the latter, ST Ericsson also offers system on chips that come with integrated modems but failed to capitalise on its strengths to compete in the booming mobile market.

ST-Ericsson has only managed a few design wins since we last talked to them at last year's Mobile World Congress. Sony (formerly Sony Ericsson) announced that its mainstream Xperia handsets would be powered by ST-Ericsson's Novathor U8500 application processors.

Whoever acquires ST-Ericsson would end up with a more complete solution; Intel acquired Infineon Technologies AG and Nvidia bought Icera and the first smartphone with Icera inside (the ZTE Mimosa X) has already been launched.

ST-Ericsson's fortunes has been tied to its two main customers; Nokia and Sony, both of which had moved to Qualcomm's Snapdragon for their mid-range and high end products in 2011. In addition, Nokia committed to Windows Phone rather than its own Symbian platform.

Source : Reuters