Times of India: August, 2015
Bengaluru: US product engineering firm Aricent has acquired Bengaluru-based chip design services company SmartPlay for Rs 1,100 crore ($180 million), one of the biggest acquisitions in the semiconductor space in India. It's also Aricent's fifth and the biggest ever acquisition in the country.
The acquisition follows France-based technology consulting firm Altran's acquisition of India-based SiCon Design Technologies last month and the acquisition of Bengaluru-based Cosmic Circuits in 2013 by Cadence Design Systems of the US, and demonstrates India's growing and deep strengths in semiconductor design. SmartPlay was founded in 2008 by Pradeep Vajram, a semiconductor industry veteran of 25 years, who sold an earlier venture, Spike Technologies, to Qualcomm for $20 million in 2004.
The company has 1,200 people and counts Qualcomm and Intel as customers.
The SmartPlay acquisition will help Aricent accelerate its R&D efforts in embedded software (software that is embedded in hardware) and the emerging high-potential space of internet-of-things (IoT — the concept of connecting every kind of device, from pens and toasters to factory components, to the internet). Aricent started in late 1990s as Hughes Software, a firm that was acquired by Flextronics International. In 2006, private equity major Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co (KKR) acquired a majority stake in the venture and renamed it Aricent. The company now has over 10,000 engineers, of which 9,000 are based in India.
With design centres in Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Noida, San Jose, San Diego, Austin and Singapore, SmartPlay has emerged as one of the fastest growing technology services companies in the world.
Vajram, who is CEO of the firm, will now head Aricent's semiconductor business, which now has 2,000 people. "SmartPlay brings deep understanding of communication technology along with agility. The world of technology is moving fast and our clients also need to move fast," said Frank Kern, CEO of Aricent, told TOI.
Aricent previously acquired four other Indian firms — FutureSoft, Emuzed, Deccanet and Tenet Technologies. "Our strategy is to keep building deep capabilities in semiconductors, embedded software and software in the internet space," Kern said.