Broadcom Snaps Up 4G Chip Maker Beceem

In a move to speed up its 4G development plans, chipmaker Broadcom on Wednesday acquired privately-held Beceem Communications for $316 million in cash and stock options.

Beceem is a uniquely appealing company for Broadcom as its technology supports both WiMax and Long-Term Evolution (LTE) capabilities. The company makes 4G semiconductors and offers single-chip solutions optimized for mobile devices and wireless broadband markets.

Broadcom will add Beceem's wireless platform solutions to its wireless LAN, Bluetooth, GPS, and Ethernet switching products. Beceem's network currently supports download speeds of up to 200 Mbps.

"The combination of Beceem and Broadcom creates a leader in providing multimode wireless connectivity solutions to service providers and equipment manufacturers around the world," said Scott Bibaud, Broadcom's Executive Vice President & General Manager of the Mobile Platforms Group in a statement to the press.

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Broadcom also expects Beceem's sales and research and development teams to help accelerate Broadcom's development plans for 4G products.

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"When combined with Broadcom's 2G and 3G cellular solutions and broader wired and wireless communications portfolio, our 4G products will enable operators to roll out next generation wireless broadband solutions while providing support for existing networks," said Beceem CEO Surendra Babu Mandava, in the statement.

Broadcom's chips are used to send data inside cell phones and across network infrastructure. They also power the Apple iPad, a source of tremendous growth for Broadcom. Already an important player in 3G technology and wireless infrastructure, Broadcom is now looking to advance into long-term evolution (LTE) and WiMax wireless technology.

As a result of acquiring Beceem, Broadcom will now compete with Qualcomm for preeminence in 4G technologies.

According to Broadcom, the acquisition has been approved by the executive boards of both companies and is scheduled to close in March of next year.