If you are considering becoming a 1M/1M premium member and would like to join our mailing list to receive ongoing information, please sign up here.

Subscribe to our Feed

Tessera’s Roll-Up Strategy

Posted on Monday, Feb 12th 2007

Chances are, you have not followed this company, nor heard of it. But unsung, Tessera (TSRA) has accumulated an annual revenue of $208.7 million in 2006, with a current market cap of close to $2 Billion.

Shares of Tessera, which have traded between $24.58 and $42.40 over the last year, surged to a fresh 52-week high of $42.79 recently.

Wondering why?

The company has been around for a long, long time. Its investors had to be very patient for many years of painful grinding when literally nothing happened. Meanwhile, Tessera’s technology innovations managed to get patented. At the time, no one paid attention to esoteric chip packaging techniques like chip-scale and multi-chip.

And then the miniaturization wave hit the electronics industry. Every cell phone was suddenly infringing on Tessera’s patents, and had to pay them royalty fees. An important patent infringement suit won against Samsung in late 2004 shot the stock up $20. And since then, money has kept rolling in.

Today, Tessera runs a fat gross margin business that ranges between 80%-95%. Their primary business is licensing of technology for chip-scale and multi-chip packaging for miniaturization in electronic products. Most semiconductor chips that are utilized in various electronics products, including digital audio players, digital cameras, personal computers, personal digital assistants, video game consoles, and mobile phones have something to do with Tessera’s patents. In terms of royalties, Tessera receives an estimated 6 cents to 14 cents on each cell phone handset, between 5 cents and 15 cents on each video camera, and 30 cents or more on each computer.

In the last two years, Tessera has made several acquisitions: Shellcase, Digital Optics, and Eyesquad.

Shellcase is the world’s leading provider of commercially available wafer level image sensor packaging technology. Shellcase’s broad technology portfolio includes wafer-level packaging for image sensors and other devices. The world’s largest cellular phone manufacturers utilize image sensors packaged in Shellcase technology for cellular phones that integrate highly reliable, miniaturized digital cameras. Packaging for Image Sensors and MEMS Devices is forecasted to become a 7.3 Billion Unit Market by 2009. Tessera bought Shellcase for $33 Million.

Tessera acquired Digital Optics last July for $59.5 million. Digital Optics develops and designs micro-optical technologies. Micro-optics is the use of microscopic structures to shape and influence light. The Digital Optics team and key technology will be components in Tessera’s development of low-cost, miniaturized imaging solutions for high-volume consumer optics applications, such as camera phones, next-generation DVD players and automotive applications. According to the most recent forecast from market research firm Techno Systems Research (TSR), the market for camera phones will increase to approximately 825 million units in 2009, representing a 21 percent compounded annual growth rate from 2005.

Recently, Tessera also bought Eyesquad, a Tel Aviv, Israel company that designs digital auto-focus and optical zoom products for cameras in camera phones and other products. The purchase price was $18 million in cash, and it strengthens Tessera’s position in the camera phone market.

To summarize Tessera’s strategy, it has been systematically rolling-up important technology modules that are essential in the growing hyper-integration and miniaturization trends around consumer electronics.

Their primary business model of technology licensing is a highly profitable model, and if they can continue to roll-up more of the components of electronics miniaturization (e.g. audio, memory, imaging, even computing), there is no reason for the company to not continue growing systematically.

Hacker News
() Comments

Featured Videos


[…] It is also one of those companies that has the market coming its way, just like I had written was the case with Tessera. […]

Sramana Mitra on Strategy » Blog Archive » Navteq : Bright Future if Managed Well Tuesday, March 6, 2007 at 9:55 AM PT

[…] recently wrote about a company called Tessera (TSRA), that has built a great business by licensing its technology and collecting royalties. Their Market […]

Sramana Mitra on Strategy » Blog Archive » Sudden Windfall For 3Com? Thursday, April 19, 2007 at 7:14 PM PT

[…] how Anant addresses the intellectual property strategy for Tilera. In the back of my mind is the story of Tessera, a company that has had fundamental innovations in chip scale packaging, and today every single […]

The Next Big Innovation in Microprocessors: Anant Agarwal (Part 9) - Sramana Mitra on Strategy Tuesday, August 28, 2007 at 6:34 AM PT

[…] (TSRA) Coverage: Tessera’s Roll-up Strategy. Another of my Convergence Device movement […]

Taking Stock - Sramana Mitra on Strategy Wednesday, October 10, 2007 at 8:07 AM PT

[…] I have reviewed Tessera several times before. The stock has recently been going through a series of ups and downs. It has fallen more than 60% and touched its lowest in more than three years. Let’s look at what’s been going in this company, which I said in an earlier post is a beneficiary of the convergence device and electronics miniaturization trends. […]

Tessera’s Hiccups May be a Buying Opportunity - Sramana Mitra on Strategy Tuesday, April 1, 2008 at 1:54 PM PT