Massive European Conglomerate Acquires Saskatoon-based Computer Chip Developer
By: Alex MacPherson, Saskatoon StarPhoenix
A Texas-based subsidiary of Siemens AG has purchased a prominent Saskatoon-based computer chip developer that specializes in “machine learning.”
Siemens, which brought in about $124 billion in revenue last year, bought Solido Design Automation Inc. for an undisclosed price. A source familiar with the local company said it’s likely the largest single technology deal the province has ever seen.
Solido president and CEO Amit Gupta described the deal as “very positive,” in part because Siemens has committed to continuing an ongoing expansion at the company’s office at Innovation Place in Saskatoon.
“They’re very much committed not just to the existing team, but to grow the team,” Gupta said. “Part of what they saw as really being an asset is the University of Saskatchewan, and having really strong engineering and computer science and mathematics programs to recruit from.”
In a recent interview with the Saskatoon StarPhoenix, Gupta said Solido has been growing by between 50 and 70 per cent each year since 2009, and plans to double its employee count to 105 people this year. He said Monday the company currently has just over 70 employees.
Siemens’ acquisition of Solido follows its purchase earlier this year of the electronic design automation company Mentor Graphics Corp. Gupta said Solido will be folded into the Mentor team, as both companies work in similar areas.
Working as part of Mentor and Siemens should allow the Saskatoon employees to not only expand their research and development into automated chip design, but also look at ways to automate systems design across the larger company, Gupta added.
“That’s really exciting for us, to be able to expand the scope of the types of problems that we’re solving and the impact (on) customers that we’ll be touching around the world (from) right here in Saskatoon.”
The deal, which is expected to close next month, is the latest in a string of acquisitions of, and major investments in, local technology companies.
That list includes the $6.3 million purchase of the mobile game developer Noodlecake Studios Inc., a deal for SkipTheDishes Restaurant Services Inc. worth up to $200 million, and the sale of International Road Dynamics Inc. for $63.5 million.