Peregrine Semiconductor Files for IPO

11/22/10Follow @bvbigelow

Peregrine Semiconductor, the San Diego wireless chip designer that has worked for years to build a business around its sapphire semiconductor technology, has filed for an initial public offering, according to registration filing submitted late Friday. The company hopes to raise as much as $100 million.

The fabless chip designer, founded in 1990 by Mark Burgener, Rory Moore, and Ron Reedy, says it has shipped over 700 million Radio Frequency Integrated Circuits (RFICs) over the past four years. Peregrine says its technology enables the design, manufacture, and integration of multiple radio frequency, mixed signal, and digital functions on a single chip. The company says its chips target a broad array of markets in aerospace and defense, broadband, industrial, mobile wireless devices, teas and measurement equipment, and wireless infrastructure.

One of the key advantages that Peregrine says it maintains in a market for low-cost semiconductors lies in the synthetic sapphire substrate it uses for its proprietary complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) design. Peregrine says synthetic sapphire has electrical characteristics that are superior to silicon used in standard CMOS chips, which enables the company to achieve “significant improvements in transistor performance for RF applications.” Peregrine says it has filed or received more than 85 U.S. and international patents covering its technology.

Peregrine Semiconductor is unrelated to Peregrine Systems, a San Diego software developer that collapsed into bankruptcy in 2002 amid a corporate accounting scandal and was later acquired by Hewlett-Packard.

Peregrine Semiconductor says it intends to use the net proceeds from the offering for working capital and other general corporate purposes. That includes financing its growth, developing new products, asserting and defending its intellectual property rights, and funding new capital expenditures. In addition, Peregrine says it may repay its loan facility with Silicon Valley Bank or expand the company’s business by acquiring other businesses, products, or technologies.

The company, which received venture funding from Morgenthaler Partners, Ridgewood Peregrine, Palisades Ventures, TVP, Advanced Equities, and others, only recently achieved profitability on a quarterly basis, and incurred net losses in each of the previous three years. Its accumulated deficit is nearly $220 million.

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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