Venture-backed CSR lines up £250m IPO

Cambridge Silicon Radio, the provider of Bluetooth technology solutions that is backed by a host of venture capital firms, has announced a £250m flotation on the London Stock Exchange.

Cambridge Silicon Radio (CSR), which provides Bluetooth solutions to designers and OEMs, is set to join the London Stock Exchange via a flotation expected to value it at around £250 million.

Since inception in 1998, CSR has raised $85 million (€68 million) in funding, including a $34 million private placement. In a first round of venture capital investment in 2000/01, the firm received commitments from 3i, Amadeus Capital Partners, Gilde IT Fund, Intel Capital, LDC, Siemens Ventures, Philips Venture Capital Fund and Scottish Equity Partners as well as a number of corporate backers.

The flotation, which is scheduled to take place in the first quarter of 2004, is expected to raise around £60 million. At the same time as the listing, Wolseley chairman John Whybrow will become CSR’s chairman.

Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB) has been appointed sole bookrunner and sponsor for the flotation. CSFB is also joint lead manager and joint broker to CSR alongside Cazenove. SG Cowen is acting as US co-manager.

Based in Cambridge, UK, CSR is a leading provider of Bluetooth technology, which enables the connection of a wide range of telecommunications devices easily and simply, without the need for cables. Its products can Bluetooth-enable non-Bluetooth mobile handsets and headsets, barcode readers, PDAs and hand-free car kits.

In the year ended December 31 2003, CSR posted turnover of $67.6 million, an increase of 144 percent on 2002. In the three months to the same date, it posted turnover of $26.7 million and operating profits of $3.6 million.  

CSR’s planned flotation follows the successful £214 million flotation of UK rival Wolfson Microelectronics in October 2003 and is expected to be the second major European technology flotation in 2004 following French Internet group Iliad, which is currently undertaking a €90 million listing on Euronext.