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Entropic Aims At Broadcom After Clinching Trident Set-Top Deal

Silicon supplier Entropic Communications is more than doubling its headcount to about 700 employees, after its $65 million acquisition of Trident Microsystems' set-top box system-on-a-chip business officially closed Thursday -- and with the combined offering, the company expects to mount a bigger challenge to Broadcom in the market.

"For us, this is a huge milestone -- a watershed event in the life of Entropic," said Vinay Gokhale, Entropic's senior vice president of marketing and business development. "The closure of this transaction really makes us a pure-play set-top company."

Entropic was the winning bidder in a bankruptcy auction for Trident's SoC business in February.

Approximately 365 employees from Trident will immediately become part of Entropic. Prior to the acquisition, Entropic had 340 employees. Mark Samuel, formerly senior vice president and general manager of the Trident set-top box business unit, is now Entropic's senior vice president in charge of the group. He reports to president and CEO Patrick Henry.

With Trident, Entropic -- heretofore a provider of chips for Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) home networking -- said it is gaining greater scale, an expanded product line, deeper technical expertise and a broader global customer base. The Trident STB lineup includes SoCs, DOCSIS modems, interface devices and media processors. In addition, those products feature a range of ARM application processor-based SoCs optimized for Web technologies.

Both Entropic and Trident have separately done business with "every North American cable operator," as well as DirecTV and EchoStar, Gokhale said.

"Customers are looking to expand their supplier base, and with this combination the next viable alternative to a Broadcom type of company is the new Entropic," he said. "With someone like Comcast, to pick a name, we would be in there on a Monday and it turned out [Trident] was there on Friday."

The companies also had been working with many of the same partners, such as transcoding-chip vendor Zenverge. "The synergies of the deal have made this a very natural step," Samuel said. "There are some next steps on integrating [the companies], and we are looking heavily at that road map. The MSOs are giving us encouragement."

Entropic will retain the Trident SoC group's largest offices -- in Shanghai, India and Austin, Texas -- and will consolidate its operations in other areas, including San Diego and Sunnyvale, Calif., Gokhale said.

Trident has shipped more than 130 million ARM-based set-top box chips worldwide, according to Samuel. Its customers include Cisco Systems, Motorola Mobility, Pace, EchoStar Technologies and Roku.

As a result of the Trident acquisition, Entropic's results for its second quarter of fiscal year 2012, which will end on June 30, will include approximately eleven weeks of Trident STB business activity. Entropic said it will provide more detailed information about the combined company's outlook during its next regularly scheduled earnings announcement, on April 24.