Did Qorvo pay more than $400 million for Dublin's UWB expertise?

February 25, 2020 // By Peter Clarke
Did Qorvo pay more than $400 million for Dublin's UWB expertise?
RF chip supplier Qorvo Inc. has acquired DecaWave Ltd., a Dublin-headquartered supplier of ultawide band (UWB) location chips, in a deal estimated to be worth $400 million or more.

The companies have not disclosed the purchase price but one analyst estimated it at between $400 million and $500 million, based on the purchase prices for other UWB companies recently acquired, and the fact that Apple iPhone 11 is adopting UWB technology. Qorvo is a major supplier to Apple.

In addition, The Irish Times has reported that staff at DecaWave are expected to share in a $60 million pay-out following the sale of the company. DecaWave has less than 200 employees, according to its Linkedin entry, thus creating a significant pay day for Dublin. Others will likely benefit to a greater extent, specifically the angel and venture capital investors that have funded the company over the last decade.

DecaWave has been a quiet pioneer of impulse radio UWB (IR-UWB) and has been kept going over the years by a series of small-scale investments that came to just $19 million before it received a more significant investment of $30 million in 2018.

Decawave was launched in 2007 by then and current CEO Ciaran Connell and CTO Michael McLaughlin. The company shipped evaluation kits for its first product in August 2009. The ScenSor is a CMOS ultra-wideband IC based on the IEEE 802.15.4a standard that supports data rates of 110-kbps, 850-kbps, 6.8-Mbps, and 27-Mbps. It made the chip suitable for applications ranging from real-time location systems (RTLS) and wireless transceivers in manufacturing, healthcare, lighting, security, transport, inventory and supply chain management.

Since then the company has deployed more than 8 million chipsets cross more than 40 different applications, according to Qorvo.

IR-UWB is now on the verge of becoming the next essential component technology and is now shipping in millions of smartphones and cars, and across more than 40 other verticals, IR-UWB is enabling accurate indoor location services, secure communications, context aware user interfaces and advanced analytics.

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