Cisco has just announced that it is buying UK-based Ubiquisys for $310 million to beef up its business in femtocells, technology that helps improve connectivity on 3G and LTE networks. The deal is one of the biggest exits in European tech in the last several years.
Cisco says the $310 million figure is a combination of cash and employee retention incentives.
The deal follows on from Cisco’s acquisition in January 2013 of Intucell for $475 million, and of BroadHop in the same month, both of which also expand the company’s holdings in mobile infrastructure.
Specifically, Ubiquisys specialises in what’s called small-cell technologies, which help patch together coverage for 3G, LTE and WiFi networks for carriers, large enterprises and even private users in places where traditionally they have been patchy. This possibly most often used for indoor coverage, but also in outdoor areas where network connections may not be as strong, and mobile operators link up with broadband networks to improve coverage.
This is a business that Ubiquisys has built up over the years. It has some 70 carrier customers and others on its books, including T-Mobile, Google, SFR and Softbank.
The move comes at a time when we are seeing attention shifting to improving indoor coverage and services overall. Just last week, Apple acquired WifiSLAM for $20 million. WifiSLAM specialises in technology that lets applications pinpoint indoor location more accurately. It’s not clear whether this is something that Apple intends to offer to developers, integrating it into its SDK, or whether it’s something that will make its way to its iOS devices themselves. Perhaps both.
Ubiquisys has been around since 2004 and has raised some $81 million in funding from backers that include Advent Venture Partners, Accel, Atlas Venture Partners and Yasuda Enterprise Development. The most recent round was in August 2012, when the company raised a venture round of $19 million from investors that included Mobile Internet Capital, the venture arm of NTT DoCoMo.
In the meantime, Cisco says that it will be forming part of its Small Cell Technology group led by Partho Mishra.
More to come. Full blog announcement from Hilton Romanski, head of corporate business development at Cisco, below.
Today, I am pleased to announce Cisco’s intent to acquire Ubiquisys, a privately-held company headquartered in Swindon, UK for $310 million in cash and employee retention incentives. Ubiquisys is a leading provider of intelligent 3G and LTE (Long-Term Evolution) small-cell technologies that provides seamless connectivity across mobile heterogeneous networks for service providers.
The acquisition of Ubiquisys exemplifies Cisco’s innovation framework based on a build, buy and partner approach. The Ubiquisys acquisition also complements Cisco’s mobility strategy along with the recent acquisitions of BroadHop and Intucell, reinforcing in-house research and development, such as service provider Wi-Fi and licensed radio. These technologies will tie together the mobility architecture that leverages the intelligence of the network from the wireless edge of the network into the wired core.
As carriers around the world increase cellular data capacity to serve the rapidly growing population of smartphone and tablet users, adding small cells is one of the most cost-effective ways to multiply data capacity and make better use of scarce spectrum assets. Ubiquisys’ indoor small cells expertise and its focus on intelligent software for licensed 3G and LTE spectrum, coupled with Cisco’s mobility portfolio and its Wi-Fi expertise, will enable a comprehensive small cell solution to service providers that supports the transition to next generation radio access networks.
The acquisition of Ubiquisys further reinforces Cisco’s commitment to service providers and strengthens Cisco’s mobility capabilities to continue to extend the intelligent mobile network.
Ubiquisys’ product portfolio and team will be integrated into our Small Cell Technology Group led by Partho Mishra.