Fabless Chipmaker MaxLinear Prepares for Next Week’s Modest IPO

3/19/10Follow @bvbigelow

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in cable TV set top boxes, digital televisions, mobile handsets, personal computers, netbooks, and in-vehicle display systems. “We believe that several favorable trends, across multiple target markets, are contributing to the increase in revenue opportunity for providers of RF receivers and RF receiver SoCs [systems on chips],” the company says.

As a fabless semiconductor company, MaxLinear uses third-party contractors in Asia for manufacturing and assembly. All of its chips are made by United Microelectronics Corporation, or UMC, at foundries in Taiwan and Singapore.

MaxLinear says it generated roughly $51.3 million in revenue in 2009, and 99 percent of its sales were in Asia. Before 2009, most of MaxLinear’s revenue came from sales of its mobile handset digital television receivers in Japan, with the balance generated by global sales of its digital television RF receiver chips. Its biggest customers are Panasonic (23 percent), Murata (13 percent), and MTC (12 percent).

Last year, the company sold more chips for use in digital set top boxes (made in Asia and sold in Europe) and in automotive navigation displays and digital TVs. MaxLinear says its future revenue growth will depend on the company’s ability to expand—particularly in markets for cable set top boxes, automotive entertainment, Internet Protocol TV, and personal computer TVs. Competitors include a variety of large and small semiconductor companies, including Analog Devices, Broadcom, Entropic Communications, Silicon Laboratories, and Xceive.

The company says its success also depends on the continued services of Seendripu, MaxLinear’s chairman and CEO, Curtis Ling, the chief technical officer, and Madhukar Reddy, vice president for IC and RF Systems Engineering.

As a final note, I’m told that the “quiet period” for an IPO ends when the underwriters’ over-allotment option has been exercised, closed, or expires unexercised. It depends on the language of the company’s agreement with its underwriters, but the option usually can be exercised for 30 days after the IPO. I’m guessing the ice on Alaska’s Nenana River won’t break until April 27—and maybe MaxLinear will talk with me sometime in May.

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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