Report: MIPS up for sale

April 13, 2012 // By Peter Clarke
Processor and related intellectual property licensor MIPS Technologies Inc., a pioneer of the reduced instruction set computing (RISC) style of architecture, is looking for a buyer according to a Bloomberg report that referenced unnamed sources.

MIPS (Sunnyvale, Calif.), which rivaled fellow processor IP licensor ARM Holdings plc (Cambridge, England) at one time but has struggled over recent years, has hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to identify and negotiate with potential acquirers of the company, the report said. The company's stock, which is traded on NASDAQ, jumped in price by more than 25 percent to close at $6.58 on Thursday (April 12).

MIPS, which originally stood for Microprocessor without Interlocked Pipeline Stages, was founded by computer scientist John Hennessey of Stanford University and enjoyed success in the 1990s licensing 32-bit and 64-bit cores to developers of computers and set-top boxes and its architecture has also enjoyed success in networking applications.

The company has built up a long list of licensors – including Broadcom, Cavium, Cisco Systems, LSI, Microchip and Toshiba – but has not enjoyed much success in the mobile phone and mobile computing markets of the last decade. The company was also been quite successful in capturing licensees in China but despite efforts to address mobile devices with Android initiatives MIPS has not made much headway in the hot markets of smartphones or tablet computers.

MIPS made a net loss of $449,000 on total revenues of $32.5 million in the six months ended on Dec. 31, 2011. This compares with a profit of $13.5 million on total revenues of $44.4 million in the same period a year before. In January MIPS CEO Sandeep Vij told analysts that the company was looking at ways of monetizing its patent portfolio.


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