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Intel mulls sale of connected home unit to MaxLinear

The chip maker has reportedly been seeking a buyer for its fringe division for months

Intel is reportedly in talks to sell its home connectivity division to MaxLinear, a firm that manufactures semiconductors for home internet access hardware. 

The chipmaking giant is apparently mulling over the decision to sell its unit for an undisclosed fee, according to Bloomberg, although no final decision has been made, and any prospective deal may yet fizzle out.

California-based MaxLinear manufactures chips for connected home appliances and network modems, as well as networking infrastructure ranging from data centre components to storage application products.

Founded in 2003, the company specialises in in-home connectivity products and has a reported approximately market value of $1.3 billion.

The two companies have actually collaborated in the past, according to Light Reading, including in January 2019 where Intel and MaxLinear announced they were partnering on high-speed networking technology. 

Intel, according to sources speaking with Bloomberg, is looking to reduce its activity in areas in which it’s not as competitive as its main business. 

The company, for example, sold the majority of its 5G modem business to Apple for $1 billion last year, including 2,200 Intel employees along with intellectual property, equipment and leases.

The company’s connected home business makes chips that allow for Wi-Fi connections and data traffic management. These chips provide wireless connections in home routers and gateways, with competitors in this space including Broadcom and Qualcomm. 

The division’s purpose has been to ensure that Intel’s chips are included in the vastly increasing quantity of Internet of Things (IoT) devices throughout home networks. 

Creating units such as the connected home division is a tactic the company has deployed over the years to ensure emerging technologies serve as a platform for the company to push its core processing business.

Intel was previously looking for buyers for its connected home unit as far back as November last year, according to multiple reports, signalling the company has been keen to distance itself from this business for some time.

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