Linus Torvalds??™ old company up for sale

Logo TransmetaTransmeta, former employer of Linux inventor Linus Torvalds, is on the block. According to media reports, the company has hired an adviser to find a buyer.

Several media outlets report that Transmeta has put up the For Sale sign on Wednesday. Apparently, Piper Jaffray was hired as the company to find a buyer and handle the sale. Transmeta currently has a market capitalization of $164 million.

Transmeta was one of the big Silicon Valley stories about a decade ago, even when it was operating in stealth mode, as it employed Linux creator Linus Torvalds as a software engineer. The company announced its power-efficient Crusoe processor in early 2000, but never got real traction in the micro-processor market ??“ partly because it lacked the necessary credibility and partly because it was out-marketed by Intel and AMD.

The company introduced the Efficeon processor in 2004, but announced that it would exit the chip manufacturing business and transition into an intellectual property and service company in 2005. Transmeta then began a painful process, but eventually won Fujitsu, Sony, NEC and most recently Nvidia as licensee??™s and customers. And when the company??™s cash was almost gone in October of 2006, the company sued Intel for patent infringement and won $250 million from Intel one year later.

Earlier in 2007, AMD agreed to invest $7.5 million in Transmeta and became the company??™s largest stakeholder.

Transmeta today said that it will receive an additional $91.5 million in licensing from Intel and expects licensing revenue to exceed $265 million this year. The company??™s annual operating expenses are currently about $7.8 million. At the end of the second quarter of this year, the company had, thanks to the Intel cash infusion, cash reserves of $141.8 million. In the current quarter, the company will record a licensing windfall of $25 million from Nvidia.

So, who might buy Transmeta? It isn??™t a particularly interesting company for a private investor group (but then, even SCO found an investor), AMD does not have the money (at least not before the announcement of Asset Smart), Nvidia has lots of other problems to deal with, which would leave Intel as the only logical choice ??“ in that case, Intel could even recoup some of its patent infringement settlement, if it can convince the company to leave the cash in the back account.

Source: TG Daily

Tags: AMD, Intel

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