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Broadcom Acquires GPS Specialist Global Locate For $146 Million

Broadcom says Global Locate's GPS system can find a location in seconds rather than the several minutes it takes other systems.
Broadcom reported Tuesday that it will acquire GPS provider Global Locate for $146 million to take advantage of the growing demand for global positioning system technology in mobile devices.

"With the acquisition of Global Locate, Broadcom will be the only semiconductor supplier in the world with top-tier customers in Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, FM radio, and GPS," said Broadcom's Robert Rango in a statement. "We are also pleased to add Global Locate's strong patent portfolio of over 175 issued and pending U.S. and foreign patents." Rango is senior VP and general manager of Broadcom's Wireless Connectivity Group.

Broadcom noted that a new generation of personal navigation devices is generating demand from consumers who want the location and turn-by-turn navigation features that are increasingly becoming available. Global Locate's semiconductor technology already is included in mobile phones from cellular handset makers, including TomTom.

Last year, Motorola announced that it had made a strategic equity investment in Global Locate.

Broadcom said it will pay an additional $80 million if certain performance goals are reached by Global Locate.

Global Locate's Worldwide Reference Network also is included in the acquisition; it provides real-time assisted-GPS data and Long-Term Orbit services for assistance even if a network connection is unavailable.

Founded in 1999, Global Locate has focused on GPS chip and navigation technology. Currently producing its third generation of GPS chips, the firm has built a global GPS reference network of assistance data for its A-GPS-equipped chips, which can boost performance and reduce the time required to find a location.

Noting that traditional GPS can take several minutes to determine locations, Broadcom said Global Locate's assistance data can reduce the time to seconds.