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July 10, 2008 6:30 AM

Impinj acquires Intel RFID business

Posted by Brier Dudley

In a major deal to expand its RFID product lineup, Seattle's Impinj is acquiring an Intel subsidiary that produces chips used in RFID readers.

In return, Intel's receiving a stake in privately held Impinj.

The deal being announced today is the result of a re-evaluation of Impinj's portfolio that also led to last week's spinoff of a memory licensing business.

"It was a good time to double-down, if you will, on RFID,'' said Evan Fein, Impinj vice president of finance and administration.

The Intel "RFID Operation" business being swapped produces a chip that other companies use to manufacture RFID readers, including handheld readers that were lacking in the range of products offered by Impinj. Intel released its RF1000 chip in March 2007.

Fein said the Intel R1000 chips consolidate 90 percent of the silicon components used in most RFID readers onto a single chip.

Impinj is also getting the Intel subsidiary's "dozens" of customers, intellectual property and a lab in Sacramento, Calif., that will continue to operate as an Impinj facility. Also joining Impinj are 10 Intel employees located in Sacramento, Portland and Taiwan.

Exactly how much Impinj equity Intel is acquiring wasn't disclosed. Nor has Impinj quantified its sales, but Fein said its sales and forecasts are both increasing.

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