Infineon, one of the top wireless chipmakers, has hired J.P. Morgan to seek a buyer for its wireless chip business, according to the Financial Times. The paper notes that a sale might not happen given that Infineon is likely to ask a high price for its business. More to the point, didn’t its management learn from the sad saga of Freescale or Texas Instruments, both of which tried and failed to sell parts of their wireless businesses?
Of course, back in 2008 when those two firms put their respective wireless businesses (TI was only selling its radio business) up for sale, Intel wasn’t rumored to be fishing for a radio and application processor business as it seeks to gain the edge against Qualcomm, Samsung, and others using ARM-based processors (GigaOM Pro, sub req’d) for mobile computing delivered via tablets, phones or netbooks. Intel has the x86 brains, but with Infineon’s ARM-based application processors and radios, it could match Qualcomm with an integrated cell phone or tablet chip for device manufacturers.
But as the FT notes, the question of whether or not Infineon can sell the division may boil down to the price. Most vendors won’t be keen to pay a large premium for customers when they already have their own technology; a buyer would likely want the business for more strategic reasons. Unless Apple decides it wants to own its own radios for its mobile gear, Infineon may find itself in the same position its fellow wireless chipmakers were in two years ago.