Intel buys Oplus for $100m

Yokne'am-based Oplus develops system-on-chip and software solutions for digital display and flat panel TVs.

Sources inform “Globes” that Intel (Nasdaq:INTC) acquired Oplus Technologies Inc. for $100 million in cash last night. $20 million has been invested in the company to date.

Founded in 1993, Yokne'am-based Oplus develops and markets system-on-chip and software solutions for the digital display and flat panel television market. Oplus CTO Gady Ye'arim, Dr. Joseph Segman, and Yona Sasson founded the company. Segman and Sasson no longer have an active role in it. Oplus CEO Dr. Yair Alpern was previously CEO of Ingentix, a joint venture of Infineon Technologies (NYSE, FSE:IFX) and Saifun Semiconductors, which was recently closed. Before that, he was CEO of SCD. He declined to comment on the report.

Oplus initially operated on the basis of a business model of developing intellectual property rights for sale. When this did not work, it switched its business model in 1998 to become a products company. Private investors and the Office of the Chief Scientist financed the company for the first two years after the change in model.

Oplus raised $2 million in 2000 from Defta Partners, an investment company with offices in the US, UK, Japan, and Israel. Oplus raised $6.5 million from Japanese comapnies Takanaka Corp, Shinnihon Corp. (TSE:1879), Kokuyo Co. Ltd (TSE:7984), and Mitani Corp. (TSE:8066) in its second financing round in 2002.

Oplus held its third financing round in 2003, a tough time for raising capital. It raised $10 million from Benchmark Capital, BRM Capital, and Giza Venture Capital, at a company value of $25 million, before money. Defta did not participate in this round.

Oplus was raising $15 million in its fourth financing round during the negotiations for its acquisition.

It was reported a few months ago that Oplus was interested in acquiring Alxon, which had developed a mobile terminal, and was under a temporary receiver. No deal was ever signed.

Oplus is BRM's first exit. It is also the first effective exit of Benchmark Israel, which manages $240 million, and is raising its second fund. Giza is in the final stages of raising $175 million for its fourth fund.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on February 24, 2005

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