Acorn split leads to buy out

Acorn split leads to buy out
Richard Wilson Managers at silicon design house Element 14 are set to take financial control of the company in an ambitious plan to create a digital signal processing architecture that will rival the international success of ARM. The firm, which is being formed following the break-up of the Acorn Group, is developing a media processor architecture that will be licensed to chip makers next year. “The business model is very similar to ARM’s, and the plan is to be ARM plus,” Stan Boland, the manager behind the venture told Electronics Weekly . The design group of 35 people at Bristol was originally set up as a business division of Acorn. It is now the centre of a ?1.5m buy out led by Boland and six other Acorn managers following last week’s announcement of the break-up of Acorn. The end of the 20-year-old Acorn name, once the UK’s only PC maker, has been engineered to rectify the financial imbalance resulting from the success of ARM, the microprocessor development group, which was formerly a division of Acorn before its flotation on the stock market last year. It was estimated that Acorn’s shareholding in ARM amounted to ?312m, considerably more than its own stock market valuation. “The aim was to get the value of the ARM shares back to institutional shareholders who are not interested in Acorn’s operating business,” said Boland who has been CEO of Acorn since last June. With the buy out at Element 14, all that was left of Acorn was its digital TV set-top box unit which has been sold to Pace Micro Technology for ?200,000. Boland had hoped to include this business in the buy out plan, but this failed to win favour with the financial backers. Boland says he is in final talks with venture capital firms to fund the buy out. Element 14 is developing a media processor which will sit alongside a microprocessor running video, audio and communications applications in digital TV set-top boxes and consumer Web terminals. “We have the architecture, and the EDA design flow is being put together,” said Boland who will be ready to start licensing the design early next year.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*