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KKR-controlled Aricent buys Bangalore-based chip design firm SmartPlay Technologies
VCCircle_SmartPlay | Photo Credit: SmartPlay offers digital, analog, wireless software and system design services.

Aricent Inc (formerly Flextronics), a US-based based company providing software and engineering services, has acquired Bangalore-based chip design services firm SmartPlay Technologies for an undisclosed amount, it said on Tuesday.

As a part of the deal, Pradeep Vajram, co-founder and CEO of SmartPlay, will join Aricent as president of its semiconductor business unit and will report to Frank Kern, Aricent's CEO.

The acquisition expands Aricent's 10,000-person engineering team and deepens its diversification strategy.

"Our combined expertise in silicon, software and connectivity will help propel product development for our clients in some of the most exciting technology areas - working across automotive, consumer electronics, industrial automation, semiconductor and other industries," said Kern.

Founded in 2008, SmartPlay offers digital, analog, wireless software and system design services and caters to automotive, consumer electronics, home automation, energy, mobility and telecom, networking, semiconductor and storage industries. The company employs 1,200 people in India, Germany, Singapore and the US.

Vajram has two-and-a-half decades of semiconductor industry experience. Prior to co-founding SmartPlay, he was vice-president of engineering at Qualcomm, heading the India semiconductor division (Bangalore). Vajram has also worked with Spike Technologies Inc and LSI Logic.

"Joining Aricent is a great cultural fit for the SmartPlay team, given our shared belief in high-quality, high-value product engineering services. We can now deliver a more powerful proposition to clients across industries that need smart silicon and embedded software to accelerate their R&D initiatives," said Vajram.

Aricent is a successor to Hughes Software Systems which was founded in 1991 as a research and development subsidiary of a DIRECTV-owned Hughes Networks Systems. In 2004, Flextronics acquired majority stake in Hughes Software Systems from Hughes. Two years later, KKR acquired majority stake in the firm with one of the largest leveraged buyout deals in the country, along with Sequoia Capital.

The firm was then renamed as Aricent.

In September 2008, Aricent raised fresh funding from existing investor KKR while adding Bahrain-based The Family Office as a new investor. A year later, KKR and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board acquired Flextronics remaining stake in the company. This remains to date the oldest Indian portfolio firm for KKR. KKR recently exited its second-oldest Indian portfolio firm Bharti Infratel.

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