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Broadcom Wraps Up Global Locate Acquisition

July 31, 2007
Inside GNSS, July/August 2007

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Broadcom Corporation, an Irvine, California–based $3.67-billion fabless semiconductor company focusing on wired and wireless communications, has closed its $143 million cash deal for Global Locate, Inc.

Headquartered in San Jose, California, Global Locate is an eight-year-old, privately-held, fabless provider of GPS and assisted GPS (A-GPS) semiconductor products and software.

Broadcom says it expects the demand for GPS devices to increase dramatically as the deployment of GPS in mobile phones increases. Combining Global Locate’s GPS technology with Broadcom’s Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, cellular and other mobile technologies will provide handset makers with wireless connectivity solutions for smart phone products.

Global Locate has focused on GPS chip and navigation technology since it was founded in 1999. The company is currently producing its third generation of GPS chips and has developed a worldwide GPS reference network that provides assistance data to its A-GPS-equipped chips via cellular data channels (GPRS or 3G) as well as long-term orbit (LTO) solutions to provide assistance even when a network connection is not available.

While many existing GPS solutions consist of two chips, with a separate baseband and radio, Global Locate has integrated both into a single-chip CMOS design in its Hammerhead GPS product line.

Targeting mobile device market segments has frequently brought the company into frequent competition with SiRF Technology for customer accounts. Last year, Global Locate wrested away part of an exclusive SiRF OEM GPS provider relationship with TomTom, a manufacturer of high-volume consumer GPS products. SiRF subsequently sued Global Locate, alleging patent infringements, and the two companies have been locked in litigation since then.

A portion of the consideration payable to the stockholders of Global Locate was placed into escrow pursuant to the terms of the acquisition agreement. Additional consideration of up to $80 million in cash will be reserved for future payment to the former holders of Global Locate capital stock and other rights upon satisfaction of certain future performance goals.

Robert A. Rango, senior vice-president and general manager of Broadcom’s Wireless Connectivity Group said the purchase will add Global Locate’s more than 175 issued and pending U.S. and foreign patents to Broadcom’s IP portfolio of more than 2,000 U.S. and 800 foreign patents and more than 6,000 additional pending patent applications.

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