TI agrees to buy wireless technology firm

Friday, June 30th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Dot Wireless acquisition is third in about a week

Texas Instruments Inc. said Thursday that it has agreed to purchase Dot Wireless Inc., a San Diego company that is developing technology for next-generation wireless phones and mobile computing devices, in a stock deal valued at about $475 million.

The deal marks TI's third acquisition in just over a week.

Dallas-based TI said the Dot Wireless acquisition, expected to be completed by the end of September, will help the company develop chips and related components for future versions of wireless devices that will be capable of accessing the Internet at broadband speeds.

Although wireless phones are now available with Internet access, they are notoriously slow, mostly offering rudimentary text-based services. So-called third-generation, or 3G, wireless devices are expected to operate at close to the speeds now possible with a digital subscriber line, or DSL, connection, allowing them to play music or video clips of reasonably high quality.

"This will allow us to be faster to market," said Gilles Delfassy, TI vice president and manager of worldwide wireless communications.

Privately held Dot Wireless, which employs 75 people, will become part of TI's wireless group. As part of the deal, TI will establish a wireless technology center in San Diego, a hot spot for the fast-growing segment of the high-tech industry. TI already has other wireless centers in Dallas, as well as in Japan, Denmark and Israel.

Dot Wireless was started in June 1997 to develop technologies that would support wireless data communications.

TI has been working with major manufacturers, including Nokia, Ericsson and Sony, to incorporate its technology into next-generation portable devices. TI's digital signal processor and analog chips are used in more than 80 percent of all digital wireless phones.

Last week, TI announced plans to purchase Burr-Brown Corp., an electronic-component manufacturer based in Tucson, Ariz., and Alantro Communications of Santa Rosa, Calif., a semiconductor company.

Shares in TI dropped $2.63 Thursday to close at $69.