WiMAX chipmaker Sequans eyes New York IPO-sources
* Firm said to ask banks to pitch on possible IPO
* Listing could raise $75-80 mln, sources say
* Alcatel, Motorola, Swisscom, VC firms among backers
* Chips vital to 4G wireless kit such as base stations
By Quentin Webb
LONDON, Oct 25 (Reuters) - Sequans Communications, a French maker of chips used in high-speed wireless networks, is considering a New York stock-market listing, four people familiar with the matter said on Monday.
The Paris-based firm, which is backed by Alcatel-Lucent SA (ALUA.PA), Motorola Inc MOT.N, Swisscom AG (SCMN.VX) and several financial investors, recently asked banks to pitch for roles on a possible initial public offering, the people said.
Sequans could look to raise roughly $75 to $80 million, two of the people said. However, at least two major investment banks have declined, some of the people said, perhaps concerned that it is too early to bring the company to public markets.
Sequans declined to comment. Sequans was founded in 2004 by Chief Executive Georges Karam, a former Juniper Networks Inc (JNPR.N) executive.
It initially made chips based on so-called WiMAX technology but since last year has also worked to the rival "Long-Term Evolution" (LTE) standard, which is gaining ground.
Companies including Acer Inc (2353.TW), Cisco Systems Inc (CSCO.O) and Huawei Technologies Co Ltd [HWT.UL] use its chips in the hubs, known as base stations and subscriber stations, that underlie fourth-generation (4G) wireless networks.
Sequans's other backers include venture capital firms Add Partners, CapDecisif, I-Source Gestion, Kennet, Serena Capital, and Vision Capital; plus units of France's Caisse des Depots and Societe Generale [SOGNNY.UL].
The potential flotation is the latest example of dealmaking involving wireless chipmakers, as companies jostle to provide the technologies that will power faster downloads of movies, music and data.
Earlier this month Broadcom Corp (BRCM.O) agreed to buy Beceem Communications Inc, a rival to Sequans, for $316 million.
And in August Intel Corp (INTC.O) bought the wireless unit of German chipmaker Infineon Technologies AG (IFXGn.DE) for $1.4 billion, and said it would speed the unit's move into LTE. [ID:nLDE67P1WH] (Reporting by Quentin Webb in London; additional reporting by Clare Baldwin and Nadia Damouni in New York; editing by Gerald E.McCormick)