Marvell on Monday announced that it had reached an agreement to buy the networking specialist firm Aquantia for $452 million. The acquisition will allow Marvell to significantly augment their current networking capabilities, with the company intending to use Aquantia's technology in future PC, enterprise, and especially in-vehicle applications.

Under the terms of the deal, Marvell will pay Aquantia shareholders $13.25 per share in cash, bringing the total value of the deal to $452 million. The transaction has already been approved by board of directors of both companies, and subject to regulatory approval, is expected to close by the end of calendar year 2019.

Aquantia for its part is best known for their Multi-Gig (2.5G/5G/10G) Ethernet controllers for a variety of markets, including PC, datacenter, and automotive. In fact it's this latter market that seems to have caught Marvell's eye, as the bulk of Marvell's official press release is dedicated to talking about automotive applications. Marvell in particular is looking to grow their high-speed in-car networking product portfolio, with Aquantia's multi-gig technology helping Marvell to deliver products with enough bandwidth for level 4 and level 5 autonomous driving systems. Fittingly, on a broader basis Marvell is expecting the market for in-vehicle networking to grow significantly over the coming years, citing one study that expects over 350 million ports by 2022.

Meanwhile, commenting on the buyout from their end, Aquantia's CEO and chairman Faraj Aalaei had this to say:

"Marvell and Aquantia share a vision where the network – whether in an autonomous vehicle, an enterprise application or in cloud infrastructure – can seamlessly power the data economy. This is a fantastic opportunity as our customers will benefit from Marvell's global scale and expanding footprint in Multi-Gig network applications."

It's also noteworthy here that along with Aquantia's technology, Marvell will get to acquire Aquantia's business connections. This includes Aquantia’s collaboration with NVIDIA for their Xavier and Pegasus Drive AGX systems, which in turn are expected to be adopted by a number of auto makers. So this potentially opens the door to a much larger market for Marvell.

Overall the buyout of Aquantia is the latest high-profile acquisition for Marvell. The company previously picked up CPU and SoC specialist Cavium in late 2017, using their technology to improve Marvell's own SoCs. With the addition of Aquantia, Marvell has developed a rather deep portfolio of products and IP that can be used by a variety of applications, from embedded to automotive to the datacenter.

As for Aquantia, it's worth noting that the sale comes at a time where the company has been struggling to grow out of startup mode and become profitable. Also released today were the company's Q1'19 earnings, where Aquantia lost $13M on $17M in revenue. These sorts of acquisitions are negotiated over many months, so the Marvell buyout shouldn't be a direct reaction to their Q1 earnings. But on the whole Aquantia hasn't been in the black yet, making an acquisition one way to stabilize the core business.

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Source: Marvell

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  • benzosaurus - Saturday, May 11, 2019 - link

    You don't really need anything special to do EtherCAT-- it's just 802.3 frames. Virtually all Ethernet NICs will do EtherCAT just fine. (Though Realtek's tend to have issues, but that's mostly a result of horrible drivers not the actual hardware.)
  • mryamaguchi - Monday, May 6, 2019 - link

    Is this Marvell's end game?
  • HardwareDufus - Monday, May 6, 2019 - link

    I see what you just did there.
  • ksec - Tuesday, May 7, 2019 - link

    Nah, just the first part of Marvell Vs Broadcom.
  • Kevin G - Tuesday, May 7, 2019 - link

    Infintite Loopback Edition
  • tezcan - Saturday, May 11, 2019 - link

    It puts an end to an era of 10GBase-T startup wars: Plato Networks, Solarflare (bought by Marvell too), Teranetics (bought by PLX and Aquantia), and Aquantia. I used to work for Teranetics/PLX/Aquantia... I was hoping they'd be the next Marvell/Broadcom with all the new ethernet money- this is what was always the goal but 10GBase-T was just too fast- hence going SLOWER to 5G and 2.5G.

    Does anyone know if Aquantia ever licensed their 2.5/5G IP out to the likes of Marvell and Broadcom?
  • Ej24 - Tuesday, May 7, 2019 - link

    Saw this and instantly bought an Aquantia 10gb nic that I was hesitant on buying. I don't trust Marvell not to screw this up and do away affordable 10gb nics
  • Gunbuster - Tuesday, May 7, 2019 - link

    Maybe they can use some of the Aquantia IP to make the Marvell Avastar not the worst WiFi/Blutooth on the face of the planet.
  • imaheadcase - Tuesday, May 7, 2019 - link

    I don't really feel automotive is really a trend to invest in. I mean sure i get that devices need to connect efficiently with all the electronics communicating. I really think these companies don't know the average human adult does not go out and buy a car that has a lot of electronics to begin with. Despite what it my seem online, most people are buying cheap cars from each other. lol
  • imaheadcase - Tuesday, May 7, 2019 - link someone did a average price a person spends on a car and it was around $8k mark. I'm pretty sure not many of those have more than a car radio and maybe off the shelf add ons put in. lol

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