CSR CEO Scours Globe for Startups in Connected-Devices Push

CSR Plc, a pioneer of Bluetooth technology, is on a round-the-world shopping trip, looking for small companies that can boost its prowess in mapping, voice recognition and other areas.

“We have a small team that’s going literally around the world, here in Israel, in Silicon Valley, in Asia, looking for these types of interesting, usually young technology companies,” Chief Executive Officer Joep van Beurden said yesterday in Tel Aviv.

CSR, based in Cambridge, England, is seeking to profit from the rise in consumer demand for connected devices and the launch of additional satellite positioning systems, which the company supports. It’s focusing on so-called bolt-on acquisitions in a range of technologies that could immediately fit CSR’s needs, van Beurden said.

“In imaging, for instance something in 3-D sensing could potentially make sense, or something in voice recognition,” van Beurden said. Map-sensor software makers could also be of interest, he said. “It’s a very target-rich environment.”

The shares rose 3.4 percent to 534.5 pence at 3:58 p.m. in London trading, giving CSR a market value of 886.5 million pounds ($1.4 billion).

Indoor Navigation

The company is also working on location technology to use indoors in spaces like shopping malls, airports and hospitals, where there aren’t satellite signals, van Beurden said.

“You need to use dead-reckoning algorithms, Wi-Fi beacons, potentially Bluetooth beacons, to find your way and navigate,” van Beurden said, adding that CSR has a demonstration version of the technology now and is talking to potential partners for it. “We’re spending a lot of time and efforts in this” as being the first company to offer it would be a “game changer.”

CSR has seen its share price more than double since selling its wireless unit to Samsung Electronics Co. last year for $310 million in cash. Samsung also purchased a 5 percent stake in CSR at the time of the deal. CSR’s offerings have a broad range of applications in smartphones, as well as in cars and personal navigation devices.

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