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Entropic Chips IntoSet-Top Box Market

Silicon supplier Entropic Communications
is more than doubling its head count to about
700 employees after its $65 million acquisition of
Trident Microsystems’ set-top box system-on-a-chip
business officially closed this month.

And with the addition
of Trident’s settop
assets, Entropic
expects to mount a bigger
challenge to market
leader Broadcom.

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

Entropic was selected
as the winning bidder in
a bankruptcy auction
for Trident’s SoC business
in February. After
receiving court approval, the deal closed April 12.

About 365 employees from Trident have joined 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.

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, China; 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 ARMbased
set-top box chips worldwide, according to Samuel.
Its customers include Cisco Systems, Motorola
Mobility, Pace, EchoStar Technologies and Roku.