Rumor mill: Qualcomm buying Israeli small cell player

Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) is positioning itself for a small cell play with the planned acquisition of DesignArt Networks, according to an Israeli newspaper, which said Qualcomm is expected to pay $120 million-140 million for the startup.

When asked about the report, a Qualcomm spokesperson told FierceBroadbandWireless that the company "does not comment on industry rumors."

Israeli business daily Globes reported that part of the price Qualcomm is expected pay for DesignArt--which is based in Ra'anana, Israel--will come in the form of milestone payments that DesignArt will be required to meet.

Back in April, Globes reported DesignArt was engaged in acquisition talks, with a purchase price of $100 million-150 million being bandied about at that time. Intel and Qualcomm were cited as potential buyers.

Founded in August 2006, DesignArt creates integrated system-on-chip (SoC) platforms and trial-ready embedded software. The company says applications for its products include small cells, unified mobile backhaul and compact BTS equipment. The vendor was an early supplier of SoC solutions for WiMAX radio access network infrastructure.

During the Mobile World Congress in February, DesignArt cited reports stating 90 percent of carrier-grade non-line-of-sight backhaul equipment for 3G small cells are now based on the company's SoC platform. Also during MWC, DesignArt announced that two of its customers were in field trials and initial service deployments with single-chip LTE base station equipment based on its small cell DAN3400 SoC platform. In addition, the company unveiled the latest release of its Unified Mobile Backhaul software pack for quad-carrier, wide-channel mobile backhaul operating on its DAN3200 SoC platform.

DesignArt's investors include Motorola Solutions Venture Capital, Carmel Ventures and Magma Venture Partners, which have contributed a combined $30 million, according to Globes. The vendor was also reportedly lent money by the Plenus Venture Lending Fund.

Globes speculates that Qualcomm may intend to merge DesignArt with its Atheros division. Qualcomm acquired Wi-Fi chipmaker Atheros for $3.1 billion in early 2011.

For more:
- see this Globes article
- see this Forbes article
- see this RCR Wireless article

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