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Atmel enters touch sensing market with Quantum acquisition

Posted: 08 Feb 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:acquisition? touch sensing? interface?

Atmel Corp. has signed an agreement to acquire Quantum Research Group Ltd, an independent developer of capacitive sensing IP and solutions for user interfaces.

The acquisition provides Atmel with an immediate presence in touch sensing, one of the fastest-growing markets for MCUs. The acquisition is expected to be accretive to Atmel's net income per share in Q4 08 and thereafter.

Privately-held Quantum is a supplier of capacitive sensing solutions offering a variety of touch and proximity sensing solutions. Capacitive sensing products are rapidly penetrating the overall touch sensing technology market, which is expected to grow from over $1 billion in 2007 to more than $3 billion in 2011. Touch sensing in mobile phones alone is expected to grow from 50 million units in 2007 to 400 million units by 2011. Quantum's touchpad navigation technologies support a wide range of markets and applications, including handsets, consumer electronics, home appliances, home security, PC peripherals, medical, automotive and industrial equipment.

Among Quantum's customers are all handset manufacturers as well as General Electric, LG Electronics, Philips, Samsung, Siemens VDO Automotive, Sony, Toshiba and Whirlpool.

"This transaction is an important step in our strategy to expand and strengthen our proprietary microcontroller product portfolio and accelerate Atmel's profitable growth," said Steve Laub, Atmel president and CEO. "The market for touch sense technologies is experiencing explosive growth, and Quantum has been a pioneer in this market since its founding in 1996. This acquisition is a natural extension of the partnership we have had with Quantum. We look forward to capitalizing on each company's technology leadership and the product synergies created by this transaction to deliver even greater value to our customers and shareholders."

"As our IP has been optimized to run on Atmel's MCUs, the acquisition will allow Quantum to significantly expand and support its capacitive touch customer base by allowing us to make use of Atmel's broad technical and sales resources," said Hal Philipp, CEO of Quantum.

Under the terms of the agreement, Atmel will pay approximately $88 million in cash at closing. Upon the satisfaction of certain contingencies over the next three years, certain Quantum shareholders may also receive up to an additional $42 million in cash and Atmel common stock, the ratio of which will be determined by Atmel at closing.

The acquisition has been approved by Atmel's board of directors and is expected to close in Q1, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approval. Following the completion of the transaction, Quantum will become part of Atmel's MCU business unit, and Philipp will join Atmel.

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