Qualcomm to acquire Iridigm Display

Sept. 9, 2004 — Wireless communications firm Qualcomm Inc. announced plans Thursday to acquire Iridigm Display Corp., a MEMS-based, flat panel display maker.

Qualcomm, which originally invested in Iridigm in 2002 and followed up in July of this year, said it would pay about $170 million for the 86 percent of Iridigm it does not own. Iridigm will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Qualcomm, pending regulatory approval and other closing conditions.

The two San Diego, Calif.-based firms said in a written release the acquisition is a logical fit for each: Iridigm can advance its technology and extend its global reach, while Qualcomm can increase the capability of its wireless devices while decreasing cost, size and power consumption.

Marlene Bourne, a MEMS analyst for Scottsdale, Ariz.-based InStat/MDR, said it should prove to be a successful exit strategy for Iridigm as they enter the market.

“They’ve been applications-focused since day one. They have a low power, smaller, better solution than what’s out there,” she said. “They’re at a critical stage in terms of deploying the technology and proving their production process in high volume.”

Iridigm isn’t Qualcomm’s only venture into small tech. The company earlier this year participated in a $12-million funding round in Discera Inc., a Campbell, Calif.-based developer of micro-oscillators and resonators for mobile phones and other applications.

When it was announced in April, Discera called Qualcomm a strategic investor. While short of a commercial agreement between the firms, the investment was considered an important step toward striking such a deal. Discera’s original investor, Ardesta LLC, is Small Times Media’s parent company.


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