PDF Solutions Goes On Buying Spree

Chip testing software maker PDF Solutions Thursday said it is in the process of acquiring new technology from two separate companies in deals totaling well above $50 million.

The San Jose, Calif.-based firm said it has signed papers IDS Software Systems , a privately held corporation based in Foster City, California. Under terms of the agreement, PDF said it will front $20.0 million in cash and 2,500,000 shares of its common stock. The total deal is worth an estimated $50.6 million and is expected to finalize this August.

IDS makes dataPOWER software, which analyzes chip testing equipment for semiconductor fabrication plants — also known as a fab .

PDF also said it has acquired the WAMA technology and associated business Santa Clara, Calif.-based WaferYield for an undisclosed amount of cash.

WAMA, which derives its name from the words WAfer MAp, is a tool to optimize semiconductor wafer shot maps and get more die per wafer.

As part of the transaction, key members of the WaferYield team have joined PDF, including WaferYield co-founders Ron Sigura, formerly its CEO, and Eitan Cadouri, formerly its chief technologist.

PDF’s products are used to simulate, model, and analyze the chip design and manufacturing processes. The company said new technologies will be added to it’s trademarked “Design-to-Silicon-Yield” program. The software and analysis services help integrated circuit makers get more working chips out of a production batch.

“Our customers face constant pressure to accelerate IC design ramps to volume production while managing the manufacturability complexities inherent in nanometer semiconductor processes,” PDF CEO John Kibarian said in a statement. “The addition of the IDS dataPOWER software and employees along with our recent purchase of the WAMA software product further enables PDF to help semiconductor companies integrate designs and processes, accelerate yield ramps, and manage yield over the life of their products.”

The additions to PDA’s arsenal come at a good time. Chip testing factories are seeing a Renaissance of late with lots of anticipated growth in the next few years, based mostly on the shift from 200 to 300 millimeter wafers as well as the increased importance on fab-less sites.

Recent stats from the Fabless Semiconductor Association (FSA) shows fabless plants experienced quarter-over-quarter growth in VC funding for the second straight quarter, growing 23 percent in 1Q 2003 to $423.4 million from the $344 million raised in 4Q 2002.

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