Qualcomm announces Nuvia acquisition plan

Mobile chip giant makes strategic acquisition to augment technology roadmap to redefine compute performance for next-generation devices

As chip giant Qualcomm continues to prepare for its change in executive leadership, aiming to take advantage of opportunities in the 5G space, it has revealed that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire silicon design firm Nuvia.

Nuvia describes its mission as “to reimagine silicon in a new way and create computing platforms that redefine performance for the modern datacentre”. It specialises in CPU and technology design, claiming industry-leading expertise in high-performance processors, systems on a chip (SoC) and power management for compute-intensive devices and applications.

Sensing a synergy with its aims as 5G further accelerates the convergence of mobility and computing, Qualcomm is offering a buyout valued at about $1.4bn before working capital and other adjustments.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, but once completed, the acquisition of Nuvia will build on the development of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon technology, delivering what the chip firm hopes will be step-function improvements in CPU performance and power efficiency to meet the demands of next-generation 5G computing. 

Qualcomm also sees the addition of Nuvia CPUs to the existing Qualcomm mobile graphics processing unit (GPU), artificial intelligence engine, DSP and dedicated multimedia accelerators as further extending the leadership of Snapdragon platforms, and positioning Snapdragon as the preferred platform for the future of connected computing.

Nuvia CPUs are expected to be integrated across Qualcomm’s portfolio of products, powering flagship smartphones, next-generation laptops and digital cockpits, as well as advanced driver assistance systems, extended reality and infrastructure networking technology.

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“5G, the convergence of computing and mobile architectures, and the expansion of mobile technologies into other industries are significant opportunities for Qualcomm,” said Cristiano Amon, recently-appointed president and CEO-elect, Qualcomm Incorporated. “The Nuvia team are proven innovators and, like Qualcomm, have a strong heritage in creating leading technology and products. Together, we are very well positioned to redefine computing and enable our ecosystem of partners to drive innovation and deliver a new class of products and experiences for the 5G era.

As part of the transaction, Nuvia founders Manu Gulati, John Bruno, CEO Gerard Williams and their employees will join Qualcomm. “CPU performance leadership will be critical in defining and delivering on the next era of computing innovation,” said Williams. “The combination of Nuvia and Qualcomm will bring the industry’s best engineering talent, technology and resources together to create a new class of high-performance computing platforms that set the bar for our industry.”

Qualcomm’s ecosystem partners have already voiced support for the acquisition. Technology companies on record as expressing support include Microsoft, Google, Samsung, Acer and Asus, Bosch, HMD, Honor Device, HP, Lenovo, LG Electronics, LG Mobile, OnePlus, Oppo, Panasonic, Sharp, Sony, Vivo and Xiaomi.

End-user firms that have expressed support include automotive manufacturing giants Renault and General Motors, tyre manufacturer Continental and Bosch.

Andree Zahir, SVP for infotainment and connectivity at Bosch, said: “The automotive industry is evolving at an unprecedented pace of innovation. Bosch considers the adoption of new in-vehicle services and capabilities as one major driver for growth. Qualcomm is a strong partner to us. We see the need for high-performance, power-efficient platforms and appreciate Qualcomm’s ambition to push the boundaries of innovation even further.”

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