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Tensilica acquisition to broaden Cadence’s IP portfolio

March 18, 2013

Last week (March 11, 2013), Cadence Design Systems Inc. entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Tensilica Inc., a leader in dataplane processing IP, for approximately $380 million in cash.

With this acquisition, Tensilica dataplane processing units (DPUs) combined with Cadence design IP will deliver more optimized IP solutions for mobile wireless, network infrastructure, auto infotainment and home applications.

The Tensilica IP also complements industry-standard processor architectures, providing application-optimized subsystems to increase differentiation and get to market faster. Finally, over 200 licensees, including system OEMs and seven of the top 10 semiconductor companies, have shipped over 2 billion Tensilica IP cores.

Pankaj Mayor

Pankaj Mayor

Talking about the rationale behind Cadence acquiring Tensilica, Pankaj Mayor, VP and head of Marketing, Cadence, said: “Tensilica fits and furthers our IP strategy – the combination of Tensilica’s DPU and Cadence IP portfolio will broaden our IP portfolio. Tensilica also brings significant engineering and management talent. The combination will allow us to deliver to our customers configurable, differentiated, and application-optimized subsystems that improve time to market.”

It is expected that the Cadence acquisition will also see the Tensilica dataplane IP to complement Cadence and Cosmic Circuits’ IP. Cadence had acquired Cosmic Circuits in February 2013.

What are the possible advantages of DPUs over DSPs? Does it mean a possible end of the road for DSPs?

As per Mayor, DSPs are special purpose processors targeted to address digital signaling. Tensilica’s DPUs are programmable and customizable for a specific function, providing optimal data throughput and processing speed; in other words, the DPUs from Tensilica provide a unique combination of customized processing, plus DSP. Tensilica’s DPUs can outperform traditional DSPs in power and performance.

So, what will happens to the MegaChips design center agreement with Tensilica? Does it still carry on? According to Mayor, right now, Cadence and Tensilica are operating as two independent companies and therefire, Cadence cannot comment until the closing of the acquisition, which is in 30-60 days.

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