Infineon close to sale of wireless unit

German chipset manufacturer Infineon has confirmed that it is close to reaching a deal over the sale of its Wireless Solutions division, for which Intel is thought to be the best match.

On Monday, the firm, which has hit the headlines after being revealed as the supplier of baseband chips for the Apple iPhone, said it was in “discussions with interested parties about a transaction concerning Infineon’s segment Wireless Solutions (WLS)” and added: “A significant progress has been made within these discussions.”

Infineon’s wireless unit has an annual revenue of €917m, contributing around 30 per cent of the firm’s total annual revenue of €3bn, and attributes this strong performance to the unit’s attractiveness to several companies.

Intel on the other hand has its Atom media processor business which targets portable devices and smartphones but lacks cellular chipset assets including basebands and RF chips. In this respect, Infineon’s wireless business would complement Intel’s Atom business.

According to Malik Kamal Saadi, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media, such a partnership could enable the US company to offer more integrated chipsets similar to Snapdragon offered by Qualcomm. However, Intel will have to find a way to utilise Infineon’s low-end chipsets which form the bulk of Infineon’s wireless portfolio, Saadi said.

Of course, there’s also plenty of speculation that Apple is in the picture to pick up Infineon too. As the sole supplier of baseband chips for the iPhone, it might be worth Apple bringing the chip development in house. Although that much was also said about the Cupertino firm’s motivation for buying PA Semiconductor too.

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