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By Philipp Gollner
SAN FRANCISCO, Dec 13 (Reuters) - Atheros Communications Inc ATHR.O, a maker of wireless chips for computers and mobile phones, said on Thursday it agreed to buy privately held u-Nav Microelectronics for about $54 million to expand in satellite navigation systems.
The acquisition, approved by both companies’ boards, includes $15.4 million in cash and 1.28 million shares of Atheros common stock, which closed down 2.1 percent on Thursday at $30.32 on Nasdaq and slipped a further 1.2 percent in extended trading.
Atheros said it may record a fourth-quarter charge for purchased in-process research and development expenses.
The purchase of u-Nav, an Irvine, California-based semiconductor company with 54 employees, may include additional payments to u-Nav shareholders if certain milestones are met, Atheros said.
Atheros Chief Financial Officer Jack Lazar said in an interview that the company plans to sell u-Nav’s global positioning system navigation technology to Atheros’ existing customers, including leading computer makers such as Hewlett-Packard Co (HPQ.N), Lenovo Group Ltd (0992.HK) and Apple Inc (AAPL.O).
“They’re looking for ways to put GPS in their PCs,” Lazar said. “We have to have a wide variety of connectivity solutions that our customers are asking for.”
U-Nav’s main competitor is San Jose, California-based SiRF Technology Holdings Inc SIRF.O, which commands a market share of 70 percent among suppliers of chip sets to personal navigation device makers including Garmin Ltd (GRMN.O) and TomTom NV (TOM2.AS), according to analysts. (Editing by Tim Dobbyn)