u-blox acquires Geotate for €5.5M

This camcorder, integrating the Geotate solution, was presented at the Photokina tradeshow a few months ago
This camcorder, integrating the Geotate solution, was presented at the Photokina tradeshow a few months ago
Fabless GPS semiconductor u-blox Holding AG today announced the acquisition Geotate B.V. (a joint venture between Road Group Holding AG and NXP B.V.) for €5.5 million in cash. Geotate develops GPS geotagging solutions based on software GPS technology and related web services. This technology is mature and a few products using it have been on the market for more than a year.

This unique GPS technology - initially developed by NXP - records raw GPS data when the picture is taken and process it on a PC connected to Geotate server once the picture is transferred from the camera. As a result it uses a minimum of power on the mobile device and is instantaneous (it does not need to wait for a full fix since the GPS data is processed at a later stage).

The term of the transaction include €2.0 million for a royalty free patent license arrangement with NXP B.V. for selected patents as well as 3.5 million for the outstanding shares of Geotate B.V.

“The opportunity to acquire a company with extensive GPS geotagging expertise accelerates u-blox strategic initiative to advance its offering for the consumer mass market, said Thomas Seiler, CEO of u-blox. “With two unique solutions our existing standalone u-blox 5 positioning technology and the new GPS geotagging technology - we are uniquely positioned to offer camera manufacturers solutions for high volume, low power and space sensitive devices.”

At this price it is a good deal for u-blox which has been able to benefit from the collapse of the Road Group Holding. This acquisition represents an important strategic step for u-blox, as it allows the company to expand its position in the consumer markets with unique GPS geotagging solutions for digital camera manufacturers and other portable device manufacturers. u-blox will be in a position to accelerate the reach of Geotate thanks to its international sales team. IMS Research forecasts that the GPS Camera market will grow to over 40 million units in 2012, across both professional and consumer orientated cameras.

Monday, March 30th 2009

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