Sondrel IPO sees biggest UK chip deal since ARM

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

UK ASIC designer Sondrel is to list its shares on London’s junior market, AIM, in a deal that values the company at £50m ($55m, €55m).

The company is raising £20m later this month to hire more engineers, particularly in the US and boost its R&D programme. “This is the biggest [UK semiconductor] IPO since ARM twenty years ago,” said Graham Curren, founder and CEO.

“Its not an exit, it’s the start of the next phase,” he said. “We have always been constrained by alack of cash and this gives us more options to raise more money and shows we are in this for the long term.”

That long term view was one of the reasons for not going with private equity investment and important for customers, he told eeNews Europe.

The company plans to tape out is first 3nm design for a customer next year. “The demand for ASICs especially at the high end is huge for high performance computing and automotive,” he said. “More and more companies are seeing the value of an ASIC over a standard product.”

“We are one of the top four ASIC design houses in the worlds and we are not far behind the others. GUC is only four times the size of us in terms of people, we just haven’t ben doing ASICs for as long so we don’t have that revenue,” he said. “The majority of business over the past 10 years is from existing customers which is a great validation of our customer care in delivering exactly what they want.”

Those companies include Tesla and Mercedes Benz in automotive, as well as Apple for the iPhone, Meta’s Oculus Quest virtual reality headset and Samsung, Google and Sony for smartphones.

The company has offices in China, India, Morocco and North America.

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