Fabless Chipmaker MaxLinear Prepares for Next Week’s Modest IPO

3/19/10Follow @bvbigelow

Little did I know when I canceled an interview in September with MaxLinear CEO Kishore Seendripu that my journalistic window of opportunity would irrevocably close—and it probably won’t crack open again until some Grizzly Adams wins the jackpot in this year’s Nenana River Ice Classic.

Needless to say, MaxLinear deflected my subsequent attempts to reschedule the interview. MaxLinear’s quiet period deep freeze officially began two months later, when the Carlsbad, CA-based wireless chip design company filed its registration statement for an initial public offering. Now, if the IPO experts at Renaissance Capital are right, we can look forward to MaxLinear’s public offering sometime next week.

MaxLinear, founded by eight semiconductor industry veterans in 2003, has planned a relatively modest offering of more than 5.4 million shares (6.25 million if the underwriters exercise their full over-allotments). At a price of $12 a share, the company expects to raise $42.7 million (or nearly $50 million if all over-allotments are sold) by selling its part of the offering—almost 77 percent. The remaining 1.27 million shares are being sold by inside stockholders. MaxLinear plans to use the capital for general corporate purposes and acquisitions. The company’s shares will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol MXL.

MaxLinear chipsThe timing seems ideal for a newcomer that specializes in computer chips that enable people to watch TV on a handheld wireless device. MaxLinear designs high-performance radio frequency (RF) systems-on-a-chip for receiving and processing digital TV broadcasts, digital videos, and broadband data downloads. Television nowadays is increasingly being incorporated in consumer electronic devices that previously did not include TV functionality, such as mobile handsets, PCs, and netbooks. As the company says in its registration document, “Recent technological advances in the display and broadcast TV markets are driving dramatic changes in the way consumers access and experience multimedia content.”

Of MaxLinear’s 177 employees, more than 77 percent are in R&D, designing RF and mixed-signal chips used … Next Page »

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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