Synaptics this afternoon is announcing that the firm is acquiring Broadcom’s wireless IoT business unit. The deal will see Synaptics acquire “certain rights” to Broadcom’s Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS products for the IoT market, as well as in-development products and the business relationships themselves. The total bill for the transaction is set to be $250 million, which Synaptics will be paying entirely in cash.

One of the tech industry’s biggest controller suppliers, in the consumer space Broadcom is generally best known (or at least most visible) for its wireless products. The various iterations of the company have produced a number of controllers and chipsets for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and other wireless technologies, which have shown up in everything from PCs and smartphones to game consoles and routers. Late last year the company was reportedly planning to sell off its wireless division wholesale, but in recent months has changed its mind and decided to keep the business after securing a major customer win. Instead, it would seem that the company has opted to slice off a smaller part of its wireless business unit, and in turn is selling that to Synaptics.

For its part, according to the company’s press release Synaptics is getting Broadcom’s “wireless IoT” business, which is distinct from their larger wireless unit. Along with current and future hardware for this market, Synaptics is also getting a 60 member engineering support team, as well as limited exclusivity for three years. All told, this is expected to significantly augment Synaptics’ product portfolio, as it will allow them to increase their vertical integration by developing an even larger portion of their IoT hardware and IP in-house.

Overall, buying out Broadcom’s wireless IoT unit is the latest in a series of acquisitions for Synaptics, who for the last few years has been in the process of diversifying its product portfolio. While the company is best known for its human interface technologies, such as trackpads and fingerprint readers, in recent years the company has been branching out into the IoT space in order to broaden and diversify their core businesses. This has included buying out Conexant Systems as well as Marvell’s multimedia unit in 2017, wand now Broadcom’s wireless IoT business is set to join them.

As things stand, the deal is set to close in the first quarter of 2021. Synaptics will be paying for the business unit entirely in cash, with the majority of that coming from the earlier sale of Synaptics’ Touch and Display Integration business.

Meanwhile, on an amusing note, this marks the second time that Broadcom has sold off its IoT business. The company previously sold off its then-wireless IoT business to Cypress Semiconductor in 2016, a deal that eventually closed for $550 million. So while Broadcom doesn’t seem to have much interest in keeping its IoT businesses, the company seems to have found a niche in growing them to sell off.

Source: Synaptics

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  • lmcd - Tuesday, July 7, 2020 - link

    Current Broadcom IOT wifi didn't even manage to snag RPi as a customer. Makes sense why they'd sell it off. Reply
  • dougw03 - Wednesday, July 8, 2020 - link

    I assume that was by design given that socket went to Cypress which, as the article mentions, purchased Broadcom's IoT business in 2016. The big question in my mind here is what IoT IP/tech is Synaptics getting that was left out of the original Cypress deal. Reply
  • lmcd - Thursday, July 9, 2020 - link

    I mean yea but you'd think Broadcom could poach their own customer -- they know exactly what they want/need.

    Cypress probably didn't get exclusive licenses to IP and Broadcom obviously has a strong base to start any form of wired or wireless tech division. They probably just built it up again from their higher-powered tech.
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  • PeachNCream - Wednesday, July 8, 2020 - link

    With Ripple20 being the latest in a long line of IOT security problems, I would not be surprised of Synaptics acquired the business for a good price. IOT isn't going anywhere, but I would encourage people to think twice about the necessity of buying devices that are internet-enabled in order to save themselves from performing trivial tasks like standing up to flip a nearby switch manually as getting off our backsides is something a lot of us need to do more often anyway to avoid higher mortality rates due to a lack of physical activity. Reply

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