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Sony to buy Altair to drive LTE for Internet of Things

Posted: 27 Jan 2016 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:LTE? connected devices? Internet of Things? image sensor?

Japan's Sony Corp. has agreed to acquire Israeli LTE chipset vendor Altair Semiconductor for approximately $212 million.

The deal is expected to close next month, Sony said.

Altair markets LTE chipsets that the company claims are in millions of LTE connected devices all over the world. The company has also manoeuvred to capture more of the growing Internet of Things market by offering chips for connected devices that leverage LTE.

Sony said the acquisition of Altair would expand the latter's existing business. Sony said it also plans to move forward with research and development of new sensing technologies that combine its sensing technologies and image sensors to develop "a new breed of cellular-connected, sensing component devices."

The Japanese electronics giant said it would aim to deliver components that feature both sensing and communication capabilities, as well as new LTE solutions.

Sony has moved away from pure consumer electronicssuch as televisions and PCstowards devices that are based on image processing and may have satellite location and 4G upload capability, such as smart cameras in industrial applications and automobiles.

Altair, which has 200 employees mostly in its headquarters in Hod Hasharon, Israel, was founded in 2005 by former Texas Instruments engineers Oded Melamed and Yigal Bitran. Both were key players in Libit Signal Processing, a fabless company acquired by TI in 1999.

Altair, which has raised about $135 million in several venture capital funding rounds, is backed by several VC firms, including SanDisk Corp.'s VC arm, SanDisk Ventures.

- With inputs from Peter Clarke

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