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Zoran Acquiring Microtune for $166M


The Zoran Corp. announced last week that it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Microtune for approximately $166 million. Boards of both companies have approved the transaction and the deal is expected to close as soon as it gets Microtune shareholder approval, regulatory clearance and "satisfaction of customary conditions specified in the agreement."

"We are excited with the opportunity to join forces with the Microtune team to deliver cutting-edge integrated systems for the fast growing and dynamic STB and DTV markets," said Ram Ofir, senior vice president and general manager of Zoran's Home Entertainment Division. "Combining the RF receiver and SoC technologies is designed to provide our customers with a unique value proposition, reducing cost and accelerating time-to-market."

I first wrote about Microtune in the article "CHIPS – Postage Stamp Micro-tuner Targets Tough Over-the-air DTV and NTSC Tasks" in my Jan. 25, 1999 RF Current newsletter after meeting Microtune founder James Fontaine shortly after the company was created.

Slightly more than a year ago, Microtune bought Auvitek, a company that had developed a high performance ATSC demodulator chip with capability for handling long post- and pre-echoes. The chip is used in USB tuners such as the Hauppauge HVR-950Q and the FusionHDTV7. Some of the people at Auvitek previously worked for Zoran, which was the developer of one of the few "ghost buster" multipath/ghost cancellation systems based on the VIR signal in consumer NTSC TV sets.

Based on the history of the three companies, I wouldn't be surprised if we hear about some new and innovative TV tuner and demodulator chips from Zoran for terrestrial/Mobile DTV receivers once the acquisition is completed.