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Tessera Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:TSRA)

Q2 2008 Earnings Call Transcript

July 30, 2008 8:30 am ET

Executives

Moriah Shilton – IR

Bruce McWilliams – Chairman, President and CEO

Charlie Webster – CFO

Analysts

Raj Seth – Cowen & Co.

Brett Hodess – Merrill Lynch

Arnab Chanda – Deutsche Bank

Olga Levinson – Lehman Brothers

Mehdi Hosseini – FBR

Kevin Vassily – Pacific Crest Securities

Hans Mosesmann – Raymond James

Operator

Good afternoon. My name is Ellie and I will be your conference operator today. At this time I would like to welcome everyone to the Tessera Technologies second quarter earnings call. (Operator instructions) Thank you. Ms. Shilton, you may begin your conference.

Moriah Shilton

Thank you, Ellie. And good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for joining us for the Tessera Technologies Second Quarter 2008 Results Conference Call. This call is being broadcast live over the Internet. A webcast replay will be available at Tessera.com for 90 days after the call. In addition, a telephone replay of this call will be made available for 48 hours beginning approximately two hours after the completion of this call. To listen to the replay in the U.S., please dial 800-642-1687 and internationally, dial 706-645-9291. The access code is 55789231.

I will now read a short Safe Harbor statement. During the course of this conference call, management may make projections or other forward-looking statements which are made pursuant to the Safe Harbor provision of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ significantly from those projected. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on the forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this release.

A detailed discussion of the material factors that may cause results to differ from the statements made can be found for example in the risk factor section of Tessera's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its annual report on Form 10-K for the year-ended December 31st 2007 and its quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the quarter-ended March 30th 2008.

On the call today from management are Bruce McWilliams, Tessera's Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, and Charlie Webster, Chief Financial Officer.

During this call today, management will discuss certain non-GAAP financial measures for comparison purposes only and they will be using non-GAAP numbers in their prepared remarks. The non-GAAP amounts of cost of revenues, research and development, selling, general and administrative expenses, net income, and earnings per share do not include the following

Stock-based compensation, acquired intangibles, amortization charges, charges for acquired in-process research and development, and non-cash tax expense.

Management believes the non-GAAP amounts provided provide a more meaningful comparison measure of quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year financial performance. Please refer to the company's second quarter 2008 earnings press release and to the company's Web site for reconciliation of non-GAAP measures to GAAP.

After management's opening remarks, we will open the call to your questions so that management is able to respond to as many of you as possible. Please restrict yourself to an opening and a follow-on question. Please re-enter the queue if you have additional questions.

And with that I will now turn the call over to Bruce.

Bruce McWilliams

Thank you, Moriah. Tessera's business continues to expand, reflecting growth in our core business and innovation and advancement in our Consumer Imaging business.

Second quarter total revenues of $56.3 million and royalties of $49.9 million were up 21% and 37% respectively, over last year's second quarter. The strong growth in our high margin recurring royalties illustrates the health of our core business. Greater than expected wireless and in line DRAM demand drove growth in the second quarter. We anticipate unit shipments for both will increase in the third quarter driving our revenues even higher. Charlie will go into our third quarter financial outlook in more detail later.

We gained significant traction in our enforcement efforts in the second quarter as we settled with one of the respondents in our DRAM ITC suit. We also completed our Amkor arbitration and wireless ITC hearing as scheduled.

In Consumer Imaging, in the second quarter, we signed our second major customer for our OptiML Focus Technology. Samsung plans to use this technology in camera modules and next generation mobile devices.

The memory content of today's computing and wireless devices has increased roughly 50% compared to last year's devices. Next generation devices are expected to contain still more. The average memory content per system for 2008 is expected to be 55% greater than 2007 according to Gardner. This trend is one of the main drivers for the broad use of our chip scale packages in computing and consumer devices which is generating sustained unit growth over our diverse customer base.

Our CSP business is based on transformational intellectual property, which includes battle tested patents. We believe in the strength and validity of our patents and continue to vigorously defend them. Our current enforcement actions are the Amkor arbitration and the wireless DRAM and subcontractor ITC actions.

The panel held closing arguments in the Amkor arbitration on June 10, and we are awaiting the decision. While there is no specific deadline for the decision under the rules of arbitration, we believe a decision will be out in the next two months.

We concluded the five day hearing in our wireless ITC action on July 18th. Closing briefs are due by August 18. The initial determination by the judge is due no later than October 20th. The investigation is expected to be completed by February 20th 2009, which is the end of the commission and presidential review period.

In the DRAM action, in the second quarter, we signed a new license through settlement with one of the respondents, International Products Sourcing Group. They also acknowledged our patents are valid and infringed by products accused in the action. The hearing against the remaining respondents in the DRAM action is on track for September 22. Our third ITC action has a seven day hearing scheduled for February 5, 2009.

We were active in the second quarter responding to interim office actions in the PTO reexamination of several of our patents. The PTO reexamination process is separate from the ITC. Patents are considered valid until all appeals have been exhausted. We believe we will be able to successfully defend our IP throughout this process. Through successful resolution of these efforts, we believe we will exceed our goal of collecting royalties on more than 80% of the packaged chips manufactured using Tessera's technology.

Now, onto our Consumer Imaging business, we expect substantial growth in our Consumer Imaging market which is on track for one billion camera phones per year starting in 2010, according to Gardner and TSR. In the past, high end features such as face detection, auto focus, zoom, redeye reduction were only in digital still cameras. Consumers today want these sophisticated features in their wireless devices as well.

Our integrated Consumer Imaging technology platform is poised to address this demand and will enable a faster transition of these technologies to wireless devices. Our FotoNation technology has good traction in the digital still camera space. For example, our redeye reduction technology is found in two out of every three cameras today.

We continue to build upon this momentum and some of our current licensees as well as anticipated new licensees have indicated they will use FotoNation technology in wireless devices to come. Our development efforts continue in other areas of image enhancement and we anticipate unveiling additional technologies later this year.

On June 30th, we announced our second major OptiML Focus licensee, Samsung. Toshiba was the first, announced in December of last year. OptiML Focus enables all objects in an image to be in focus simultaneously from 20 cm to infinity with no moving parts. This provides an innovative alternative to current auto focus solutions which do require moving parts. We expect additional OptiML Focus licensees by year-end, and OptiML Focus will be deployed in mainstream wireless handsets in early 2009, according to feedback from our customers.

We continue to see strong demand for wafer level chip scale packaging for image sensors, an area where we have 40% market share. Our new SHELLCASE MVP technology enables lower cost processes and more die per wafer, which reduces costs by up to 25% over prior generations.

It also uses existing processes and tools allowing companies to use today's infrastructure to quickly adopt this next technology. Our first SHELLCASE MVP licensee, Nemotek will come online in the beginning of 2009, and we expect to sign additional SHELLCASE MVP licensees before the end of this year.

We are also making excellent progress on our OptiML Wafer Level Camera Technology for wireless handsets. We expect to be in pilot production on our VGA solution in the fourth quarter and be high volume production ready for our licensees by year-end.

At this year's Semicon West show, we demoed our OptiML Wafer-Level Camera wafer level camera VGA solution integrated with our FotoNation face tracker and smile detection technologies. This is just one example of the feature rich imaging solutions we will be able to offer with our integrated platforms. With this one-stop shop approach, we are uniquely positioned to be the solution of choice for next generation of imaging devices in the wireless consumer and computing markets.

We are excited about the long-term potential for our Consumer Imaging business, which is growing at a rate faster than our base business. We remain on track for $100 million in revenue for this part of our business by 2010.

I will now turn to call over to Charlie Webster for a review of our financials and third quarter guidance.

Charlie Webster

Thank you, Bruce. Before I review our detailed financials for the quarter, please note that Tessera's non-GAAP results do not include stock-based compensation, charges for the amortization of acquired intangibles, acquired in-process R&D, and non-cash tax expense. To help you better understand our results, we have included a detailed reconciliation between our GAAP and non-GAAP numbers in both our earnings release and on our Web site.

Now, turning to the second quarter results, let me take you through the details. As Bruce mentioned, second quarter total revenue was $56.3 million, up 21% year-over-year and included royalties and licenses of $49.9 million, up 37% year-over-year. The main growth drivers of royalties remain DRAM and wireless unit shipments. And as a reminder, we recognize royalties one quarter in arrears.

Tessera's DRAM revenue grew in line with our expectations, as industry DRAM units increased 3% sequentially in the March quarter. Although there were two headwinds to unit growth in the quarter, seasonally weaker PC demand and the industry's transition to 1 GB from 512, these issues were offset by stronger demand from memory content, both in the U.S. and internationally, and as a result, our outlook for DRAM unit growth remains positive.

In the wireless industry, although unit shipments in the March quarter contracted about 10% in line with normal seasonality, our wireless royalties grew due to stronger performance in share gains by some of our key wireless customers. Several of whom appear to be benefiting from relative strength in 3G unit sales. As a reminder, smartphones and PDAs typically carry higher CSP content.

Product and service revenue of $6.4 million was slightly below our expectations due to lower government revenues and softness in the photolithography industry. While we believe our litho business has probably bottomed and may improve gradually, as we mentioned earlier this year, our government revenue will go to zero in the next several quarters from its low levels in Q2 '08.

This is due to our decision last year to focus our efforts on R&D that is better aligned with our long-term growth in optics, imaging and next generation packaging solutions. And as we mentioned before, the continued reduction in government revenue will have virtually no impact on our profitability as it has historically been a very low margin activity.

Let me now review expenses. Total GAAP expenses, which as a reminder include cost of revenues and litigation, were $54.0 million. Stock-based compensation expense was $5.8 million. Amortization of acquired intangibles was $2.9 million. Subtracting these items, total non-GAAP operating expenses were $45.3 million. Litigation expense for the quarter was 17.2 million, driven primarily by the Amkor arbitration hearing and costs associated with the march toward trial in the wireless and DRAM ITC actions.

Total non-GAAP operating expense was as follows. Non-GAAP cost of revenue was $3.5 million. R&D was $11.5 million. SG&A was $13.2 million excluding litigation expense. Interest income was approximately 1.5 million and cash taxes were 3.4 million. GAAP taxes were $3.7 million.

With these results, Q2 '08 GAAP EPS was $0.00 per share and non-GAAP EPS was $0.18 each on a fully diluted weighted average share count of 48.2 million and 49.0 million shares respectively.

Operating cash flow for the period was 24.7 million, boosted by strong collections of accounts receivable during the period. And on June 30th, we held $276 million in cash and investments and no debt. This is up 20 million from the end of Q1 '08.

Now, let me turn to guidance. We expect third quarter 2008 total revenue to be between $62 million and $64 million, including royalties and license fees of $55 million to $57 million and products and services of approximately $7 million. Our strong royalty guide for the third quarter is due to two factors.

First, our royalties are growing quarter-over-quarter on solid end market trends. In DRAM, the amount of memory per unit in both computing and consumer devices continues to increase offsetting the normal slowdown associated with the industry's density transition to 1 GB. In addition, we anticipate continued broad demand for desktop and mobile PCs outside of the U.S., including Europe, Asia-Pacific, and other emerging markets.

In wireless, though our visibility is lower through the second half, we anticipate shipments will be up in the industry sequentially approximately 3% in the second quarter and range between 10% to 12% for the year, supported by increased sales of 3G and stronger demand in international markets.

The second driver of our stronger royalty guide for Q3 '08 is that several of our customers including licensed subcontractors are performing self audits to some of the respondents in our litigations. In some cases, they have found substantial underpayment and have sent them to us and we expect to recognize these catch-up payments in the third quarter.

Products and services revenue should be approximately 7 million. Though lithography remains flattish, there is increased demand for our specialized micro optics technology, particularly from the communications industry, which is offsetting weaker semiconductor optics.

The telecommunications demand is due to growing broadband penetration and increased end-user access fees, which drives increased data and video usage. This in turn drives the need for higher performance servers and routers in which our optics technology plays an integral part.

Now, turning to expenses, on a non-GAAP basis, total expenses excluding litigation are targeted at $29 million to $30 million, principally due to an increase by gradual investment in R&D. As per our change to guidance policy last quarter, we again will not guide litigation expense for the third quarter because at a time of such increased legal activity, litigation spend is highly variable and difficult to predict.

In addition, we believe that expense guidance conveys certain information about our approach and expectations which we prefer not to disclose. We can say, however, that we do not expect a decline in litigation expense in the third quarter from the second because we have two trials occurring during the period.

I want to emphasize, however, that litigation expense has historically had an excellent ROI for the company and we believe it is likely to do so again. We remain very confident in the strength of our IP and firm in our conviction that defending our IP against infringement is in the best interests of our stakeholders.

In the third quarter, we expect stock-based compensation to be approximately $6 million to $7 million and deal amortization charges to be roughly $3 million. GAAP taxes are expected to be approximately $3.5 million and cash taxes roughly $3 million.

Now, let me turn the call back to Bruce.

Bruce McWilliams

Thank you, Charlie. Our CSP business is strong with substantial year-over-year royalty growth and our customer base is solid. Unit growth in our DRAM and wireless market is in line with prior expectations and does not appear to be impacted by negative macroeconomic trends. We believe we are on track for successful resolution of our enforcement efforts.

Our settlement with IPSG and the self audits of our DRAM customers are two recent results. We remain confident these efforts will produce significantly greater penetration in our core markets, particularly CSPs used in the wireless segment. If successful in all of these efforts, we will receive royalties on more than 80% of the packaged chips manufactured using Tessera's technology. This market share will in turn generate many strong years ahead.

We began building our optics and imaging technology portfolio in late 2005 with the purchase of SHELLCASE. After three additional acquisitions and substantial internal R&D efforts, we now have a broad, integrated consumer imaging technology platform. This platform is ideally suited to address the growing market needs in consumer imaging. We remain on track for $100 million in revenues in 2010 and expect long-term, we can grow this business as large if not larger than our core CSP business.

In summary, Tessera is positioned for strong, long-term growth in its business of providing high value electronics and consumer technologies that are critical to the realization of advanced wireless, consumer and computing products.

I would now like to open the call for Q&A. Operator?

Question-and-Answer Session

Operator

(Operator instructions) And our first question comes from the line of Raj Seth of Cowen & Co.

Raj Seth – Cowen & Co.

I have a couple quick ones. First, Charlie, in your text and in your discussion, you talked about how these audits requested by some of the defendants in your case were an encouraging, I think you used the word encouraging indicator of progress in our litigation. Is there any way you can expand a little bit on that? I'm not sure how to interpret that. What does that mean?

Charlie Webster

Sure. Again to frame the issue, what's occurred is that several of the respondents in our litigations have requested that either their own operations or their extended supply chain take another careful look at how they are packaging and whether they are paying correctly for our technology. We think that, that increased attention to the details of correctly paying is the result of our litigation pressures, and we're, therefore, encouraged. We're absolutely not in a position to predict how this might play out in the future or in the next couple of quarters. But again, we think that this echoes the themes of valid IP and strong license agreements.

Raj Seth – Cowen & Co.

So just to clarify, the people that are going back and looking at what potential catch-up they might owe are currently licensed and they did this at the request of defendants who are non-licensees, is that – are am I confusing?

Bruce McWilliams

Raj, this is Bruce. That's correct. So, I think the non-licensee guys are just wanting to make sure that in the event that things don't go right that they have channels, so, they are taking this very seriously.

Raj Seth – Cowen & Co.

Got it. Okay. That makes sense. Couple other quick ones. Charlie, how much of a tax shield is left here? And when – let's assume you don't get a huge chunk which you may in catch-ups in the short-term, but, when would you expect to start paying taxes?

Charlie Webster

We're already starting to see a gradual pick up in the cash tax rate, which we've guided you all to expect to steadily increase. The quarter was at 3.4 million, a little bit higher than our expectation of around 3 million, simply due to timing of a cash tax payment. Next quarter is going to be still in that 3 million range. But gradually over the next 12 to 18 months, the cash tax rate as a percentage of PBT will continue to climb up from 15% to eventually a range in the 38% to 40% range as we've discussed. And of course, if there's a large settlement, the cash tax rate will likely to get a little bit higher sooner. Does that help you, Raj?

Raj Seth – Cowen & Co.

Right. Yes. And how much of a shield in dollars roughly is there, there?

Charlie Webster

We don't give out that detail except on an annual basis. Again, I think the most useful thing for the Street is to understand what cash tax rates could be, particularly given the slight volatility in our GAAP tax rate, which, for the quarter, was quite high and probably stays a little bit high for the rest of the year.

Raj Seth – Cowen & Co.

Okay. And one last one for Bruce if I may. Bruce, can you talk a little bit – I know it's probably premature, but about your ultimate strategy here to extend the licenses that you currently have? When do you begin going back into those existing customers and trying to renegotiate? How do you feel about your pool of new IP, new CSP technology? Are you seeing any traction for that? Can you talk just a little about the strategy and the timing there?

Bruce McWilliams

Sure. Significant licenses begin expiring 2012 and beyond, and a lot of them go all the way out to 2018. We feel pretty good about our position to renegotiate those licenses based upon IP. I don't really want to go into too much detail in that area. But, and then we also have internal developments that we believe can broaden us into other areas of packaging such as flip chip. But, that's something I think we will begin talking about in more detail with our stakeholders in 2009. But, at this juncture, it's not really appropriate for us to do that.

Raj Seth – Cowen & Co.

Okay. That's fine. Thanks very much.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Brett Hodess of Merrill Lynch.

Brett Hodess – Merrill Lynch

Good afternoon. Couple items. First, on the optical business, you mentioned that you would have some more licenses. You've already had two of the largest players license the OptiML Focus Technology. Are the licenses coming through generally for only pieces or do you have of the total consumer optics business? Or are you starting to see people interested in more of the full suite of license – technologies being licensed?

Bruce McWilliams

Yes, let's talk about our strategy. The OptiML Focus and FotoNation initially you see that with the way cameras are conventionally built because where that technology is of interest is more in the 3 megapixels, 5 megapixels range. And the way our licenses work is we license the guys making the chips, such as Samsung and Toshiba, because the algorithms are embedded right in their chips. And then, we have other licenses that we don't actually necessarily disclose to the people who make the optics, and then the optics, they encode the design that works with the signal processing. Now, as people shift over to this new way of making cameras, that's when the true strength of our full platform will kick in. But, the revenues we see in royalties will be starting to become material and significant next year because we can immediately get into these conventional channels. The wafer level optics initially will be seen in the market in VGA, which is a very high volume market. The reason is initially there is the demands on the technology are less. We have in development a 2 megapixel and 3 megapixel design, but, the first step is get this ramped on the easier things first. So, in terms of seeing the whole platform deployed in mobile devices, I think that's more of a 2010 event. What you'll see in 2009 are pieces of our technology, like our chip sensor packaging, which is already in very high volume, the lens pieces for VGA; the algorithmic-based stuff, and 3 and 5 megapixel type sensors. And again, as I said on the call we do expect to be able to announce multiple more licenses later this year. So we're very pleased at how the whole platform is coming together.

Brett Hodess – Merrill Lynch

Great. And a quick follow-on if I could. Back on the comments about the self audits that are going on and relative to some of the defendants in the litigation, can you share with us if those incremental audits are being found mostly from DRAM related or is it from DRAM and wireless related devices?

Bruce McWilliams

Yes. The primary stuff right now are, that are in the third quarter are DRAM, but – yes, so, it's primarily DRAM. But it could propagate into other things in future quarters.

Brett Hodess – Merrill Lynch

Great. Thank you.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Arnab Chanda of Deutsche Bank.

Arnab Chanda – Deutsche Bank

Bruce, it was great that you explained all the different components to the optics, but maybe if I could probe on that a little bit. So if you look at the three sort of subcomponents, your image sensor, your algorithms and your lenses, and then obviously then bringing it altogether in the platform, I think you talked about what your percentage share was, of the license – or your licensees market share in the sensor market. Could you talk a little bit about how far you have progressed with the other two components? And then finally, where you are in terms of licensees for the camera market? And I have a couple of follow-ups, please.

Bruce McWilliams

So I'm not sure I totally follow the question, but there seem to be a lot of questions there. In the sensor piece, the packaging, we're at about 40% market share. But, the royalty there is more like a normal CSB sensor. In the algorithmic based stuff, the OptiML Focus and FotoNation, in terms of units, the market share is small because these are 3 and 5 megapixel. But, the royalty, although we don't disclose it is high. So, I guess the main thing I want to come back to is we feel confident about the $100 million kind of level revenue in 2010 and good growth beyond, and we feel good about the growth from where we're at now and through 2009. But, we believe that if we get this full platform adopted across the board and move into additional other markets like automotive and security that this business over the next five or six years can be a $200 million a year sort of business, five to 10 years.

Arnab Chanda – Deutsche Bank

But, I'm sorry, I just to follow up on that a little bit. So I think you mentioned two out of the three, obviously, the biggest royalty component is when you get the wafer level camera, exactly, where are you with that? I mean how many licenses do you have? And how much share of the market do they have or you – can you disclose some of the milestones maybe you were with some of the major players that would give us more comfort on to your target of $100 million?

Bruce McWilliams

Yes, the problem we have – we don't want to go into that level of granularity because we are in discussions with virtually everybody. But, as you can imagine, we've got NDAs and it's very sensitive to mention our customers' names unless we get an agreement like we did with Samsung and Toshiba to announce these things. Even the OEMs, they don't want us to mention who they are that are using this stuff because they don't – that information isn't public, so our hands are tied.

Arnab Chanda – Deutsche Bank

Okay. Great. And maybe for Charlie. Charlie, to the extent that you can, could you talk a little bit about some of the patent situations, what the timeline is for the PTO, for the reexamination? And then also of the – I think you've got four items of litigation, what sort of the timelines on those in terms of getting first decision on some of them? Probably too long question, but if you could address some of that, that would be great.

Charlie Webster

Sure, Arnab. I just want to add actually one thing to what Bruce was discussing. The other exciting feature of the optics and imaging business is the dynamism in the addressable market. When we started, not 12 months ago or so talking more about this, we thought we get to about a billion in camera cell phones by late 2010. Today, we think that's mid 2009. And this addressable market is growing more than 20% CAGR right now. So it's a great market and our technologies are well-positioned. Quickly running through the situation on the legal front, the Patent and Trademark Office is reexamining a number of our patents. The detail on this is available on our Web site in the great granularity in this case. And you can see exactly what stage of what are called office actions each one of the patents happen to be in at this time. What is tricky, however, is to understand then how long it will take for the PTO to finally progress all the way through the end of that process. And what we have messaged repeatedly and I'm happy to do so again is it takes a very long time. It takes a very long time. Some of these office actions can be repeated three, four, and five times, and even when they are complete, they then just issue a right of appeal and we have the opportunity to appeal to the board of the PTO. And if that shouldn't work our direction in the ways that we think should, then we have the right to appeal beyond that. And if you add all that time up and look at the historical statistics it could well be five to seven plus years until the process is exhausted. So, that's a great (inaudible) back to the ITC where we obviously continue to have the ability and we're taking full advantage of it to defend against infringement on the ITC. So where are we? Well, we just completed the Amkor case as you know in early June and expect to hear soon. We haven't been informed exactly when and our best guess is in August or September. The wireless ITC case, as you know was conducted on July 14 to 18 in Washington, D.C. The judge presiding has announced that an initial determination will be released no later than October 20th. We have a DRAM case in the ITC coming up on September 22nd, and would expect an initial determination from that body within 60 to 90 days after the completion of that trial which should be five and maximum seven days in length. And then finally, we have the Subcon wireless ITC case scheduled for February 5th in Washington. And once again, the same clock should apply within 60 to 90 days thereafter an initial determination would be issued. How's that, Arnab? I lost him.

Arnab Chanda – Deutsche Bank

Thank you very much.

Charlie Webster

Okay. Great. Any other questions?

Operator

Yes, sir. Your next question comes from the line of C.J. Muse of Lehman Brothers.

Olga Levinson – Lehman Brothers

This is Olga Levinson calling in for C.J. Thanks for taking the question. Just as a follow-up on the self audits, are you basically saying that non-licensees are potentially lining up capacity at the OSAT players that are currently your licensees?

Bruce McWilliams

(inaudible) what's happening. People are very concerned about the strength of our case I guess. And so, we do have license Subcons who have been good customers. But they want to make sure that they have been 100% compliant and so forth because in the event that we do get an exclusion order, which we feel pretty positive about our prospects. They want to make sure there are channels, if we were not to grant licenses to other people, where they can still get their parts made. And so that's – what they don't want to have happen is it find out that they weren't necessarily compliant and we could shut them down as well. So, it's just an indication that people take our position very seriously. It does mean that on a go-forward basis our royalties will be bit higher. And we see it as a very positive event, and it gave us a little bit of a bump here in this quarter's revenues. (inaudible) third quarter range.

Olga Levinson – Lehman Brothers

I guess just to get better clarity on that, up to what point can the litigants actually settle with you guys? If they feel like that they're actually entering upon an exclusion order and that's imminent, at what point are you guys willing to settle or at what point there's a cutoff for that?

Bruce McWilliams

You know, we don't really comment on that. But, our general policy is, the longer time progresses, the worse the deal's going to be. We're in constant discussions with a range of these people, and if people take us to task all the way through, it won't be as good for them, and potentially, even we might choose to not license somebody. We haven't made a decision like that, but it would be our prerogative.

Olga Levinson – Lehman Brothers

Okay. And then can you confirm your outlook for the industry's wireless and DRAM units in 3Q and 4Q?

Charlie Webster

Sure, Olga, this is Charlie. Yes. Our view remains very much in line with our perspectives earlier this year which actually is positive because we went into the year thinking DRAM unit growth would be about 20% in 2008 over '07. We were watching and concerned that the 1 gig transition might slow that. But even though 1 gig transition has actually moved faster than expected, memory content has soaked up that effect and kept the unit growth right in line. So, once again, we see a 3% to 5% sequential growth probably building into the final quarter of the year as is seasonally typical. On the wireless side, we continue to share the view of most observers that the unit growth in handsets will probably on the order of 10% year-over-year. We benefited in this quarter just closed from market share gains and good performance from some of our key licensees, who, as I mentioned were benefiting from some dynamism in the 3G segment. But, there, we don't know how that's going to play out to the final parts of this year, but remain fairly confident. But, both of these end markets are heavily non-U.S. And so to the extent choppiness in the United States consumer area slows business models, we feel pretty good about our prospects.

Olga Levinson – Lehman Brothers

Okay. I guess could you offer your initial thoughts on unit growth for both handsets and DRAM in '09?

Bruce McWilliams

In '09, you said? Sorry, couldn't…

Olga Levinson – Lehman Brothers

Yes, in 2009.

Bruce McWilliams

So, we remain bullish on DRAM unit growth in '09. And if I had to guess at it, I would put the number in the 15% to 20% range. So, once – we expect high memory content to continue, boosted by continued declines in pricing. So, right now we're in the range of 2 GB per box. That's probably 2.7 to 2.9 in 2009. So that's our assumption set. On the wireless side, we would once again look for around 10% with the potential for some upside from 3G and particularly, the introduction of smarter phones into emerging markets on the lower end segments.

Olga Levinson – Lehman Brothers

Okay. Thank you so much.

Bruce McWilliams

Thanks.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Mehdi Hosseini from FBR.

Mehdi Hosseini – FBR

Yes. Thank you for taking my question. I want to go back to this Subcon item. I'm still little bit confused. Can you please help me understand how many Subcons you actually have compliance with your licensing agreement?

Bruce McWilliams

Well – do you want to go ahead, Charlie?

Charlie Webster

Yes. So Mehdi, in total, as we've said, we have more than 70 licensees. Typically, no customer has been greater than 10% or 12% of revenues, and that remains true. So, that mix as you know is both DRAM and wireless and there are Subcons in both. I would say rough numbers we probably have two dozen Subcons.

Bruce McWilliams

Yes. In the DRAM segment, just to give you a little more color. I think there are about two or three small ones in Japan, couple in Taiwan, one pretty big, and one in Singapore that service some of the DRAM. And….

Mehdi Hosseini – FBR

But the ones that are not compliant are in non-memory and they are some of the larger Subcons. Is that correct?

Bruce McWilliams

Well, generally, these guys make a plethora of different product types. Some that are making DRAM packages we believe are not paying us at all, right. And then they are in this ITC action. There are Subcons that are licensees that aren't in the ITC action. Those are the ones that generally have been paying royalties, and what happened here was that our licensees that were in good standing, we're just making sure they were squeaky clean, which we very much appreciate. And that was at the request of some of these DRAM IDMs that are involved in this action and want to make sure that they have a way to get their chips assembled.

Mehdi Hosseini – FBR

And one follow-up question on the wafer level package. I also need a clarification there. I see some of the companies that actually do the wafer manufacturing are getting more and more involved as a way to diversify especially on the image sensor. Do you see eventually any sort of a conflict or opportunity working with companies like Taiwan Semi (inaudible)?

Bruce McWilliams

You are asking about our image sensor packaging technology?

Mehdi Hosseini – FBR

Yes. Image sensor would also lead to the integrated package module. It will all have a domino effect.

Bruce McWilliams

I'm not sure I understand the question.

Mehdi Hosseini – FBR

I'm going back to the wafer level package which would also include image sensor, which would also lead to the integrated camera module, right?

Bruce McWilliams

Yes.

Mehdi Hosseini – FBR

Now, I see some of the foundries like TSMC, Taiwan Semi or even some of the other companies – memory companies that do also image sensor that are becoming more involved in the packaging side. Now, does that create opportunity for Tessera or does that create more of a conflict as those companies pursue diversification?

Bruce McWilliams

Well, we – there are competitive approaches to ours. And we by far have the dominant market share. We think our new product which greatly reduces cost, and has improved reliability will improve our position. And we believe later this year, you're going to see some additional people take licenses to that technology, and so we will have a pretty large group of foundries. And so, yes, I think foundries will prove to be a good – an opportunity for us to gain more market share in this space, and I also believe that this segment of the industry will choose to not do this stuff internally, the IDMs that it will be primarily a foundry-based business because the volumes just don't warrant making the capital investment in any one sensor manufacturer.

Mehdi Hosseini – FBR

So early on, we talked about opportunities and what could lead to the $100 million market later this year announcement. This kind of collaboration would also be included. We're just trying to find out the kind of (inaudible) that we're interested to identify. Is that correct?

Bruce McWilliams

Are you talking about how we're getting to $100 million in revenue in 2010? Is that the question?

Mehdi Hosseini – FBR

Well, we're all trying to – yes, we're all trying to better understand the legal step that would lead to $100 million market. And…

Bruce McWilliams

We think the market is much bigger than $100 million. But we believe our revenues for our whole imaging platform will be 100 million in 2010. Now it's a very diverse business, like FotoNation, we've got things like face tracker, redeye reduction. We're in almost every – two-thirds of every digital still camera. So that's a base of business and we're seeing interest in moving that to the mobile phones, and that's part of our growth. This actual extended depth of focus, what we call OptiML Focus and a zoom product, this is a good piece of that. And why it can be is that the kind of royalty you get on something like that is much higher because you are providing software and logic design as well as optics design. So, that's a piece of that. Our image sensor packaging is a piece of it. And so, it's built up of a bunch of pieces. And we think the value of coming to us long-term will be we have all the pieces and they all work together in a seamless fashion, and we really think that's what the customers want. They want integrated solution that's the most cost effective. You know, I think as we mentioned in a call earlier in the year, we're sort of halfway to our goal. We started zero back in 2005, we're halfway there, and as these design wins get integrated in, from our own bottoms-up forecast, we can see our way to that in 2010. There certainly is risk, but we feel confident enough about to put it on this call.

Mehdi Hosseini – FBR

Thank you.

Operator

And your next question comes from the line of Kevin Vassily of Pacific Crest Securities.

Kevin Vassily – Pacific Crest Securities

Yes. Hi, guys. Thanks for taking my question. Bruce, in the prepared comments, I think you mentioned that you expected to see camera phones using optimal OptiML Focus start shipping in early 2009. Perhaps I'm mistaken, but I think earlier this year, you made some comments that suggested you might actually see some of this stuff ship in the second half of 2008. Am I not remembering this correctly or–?

Bruce McWilliams

You remember correctly. And so, actually it's still possible, but we feel less confident about that being in the fourth quarter. We are actually one level removed from that and because it's the OEMs when they exactly launched it in their products, but the programs are going very well, and we've just given you the latest data we're hearing from our licensees about when it's going to be there. So, yes–

Kevin Vassily – Pacific Crest Securities

So is it safe to say that at least the ones you thought might have been in 2008 could have been associated with Toshiba since that was a late 2007?

Bruce McWilliams

That's correct. That was a Toshiba one. And we actually don't know for certain whether it will be a fourth quarter event or a first half of next year event, but we like to be conservative. So, we have decided to tell you guys that's something we expect in the first half of next year.

Kevin Vassily – Pacific Crest Securities

Okay. Great. Thank you.

Operator

And your next question comes from the line of Hans Mosesmann of Raymond James.

Hans Mosesmann – Raymond James

Going back to the line of questioning that Mehdi had can you explain perhaps one way of looking at this is for us to get a sense of on the wafer level, optics VGA solution is going to be introduced. What – how do you – how do you base your royalties? Is it based on a pin count? Is it based on the average selling price of the chip, if you could help us there?

Bruce McWilliams

Well, as you can imagine, we're in a lot of different negotiations there. So we really don't like to go into that level of granularity in our business model. But, so that's all I can say at this juncture. As this business gets a little bit further along and we have all of our players – our main players in place, we will start to give you a lot more color on this whole business, and that will be next year. And it's just difficult in a nascent stage to go into those kinds of details with you guys not because we don't want to with you, but it compromises us with our customers or potential customers.

Hans Mosesmann – Raymond James

Fair enough. And then as a follow-up in terms of the catch-up in Q3, what part of the guidance is catch-up and are we to assume that there will be some kind of a correction or a downtick as a result of that in Q4 and after that?

Bruce McWilliams

Yes. There's still good growth between Q2 and Q3. But so our base business is growing. We don't want to at this juncture give guidance about the fourth quarter other than saying that business is like we thought it was at the beginning of the year. And so, we really don't want to use this as an indicator that our business is much stronger in the fourth quarter than we had thought before. It maybe a little stronger, but we don't think that because we're guiding here to 62 million to 64 million that you guys should take your fourth-quarter number way up or something.

Hans Mosesmann – Raymond James

Right. So One way to assume is that the catch-up is somewhat of one-time event assuming that there's no other guys that come in and have to catch-up as well, but we should look at as a one-time event and then kind of assume whatever we were before in terms of seasonality?

Bruce McWilliams

It's a one-time event in that respect. However, some of our customers are going to be paying more on a quarterly basis, but not to that same magnitude. So, I don't know if that helps.

Hans Mosesmann – Raymond James

No, it does, and one last one to the degree that you can answer and I suspect you won't be able to comment. But you are at the early stages of this new, the consumer and imaging and you've negotiated with lots and lots of different customers. Are you going to expect some level of pushback from some participants like we've seen in the DRAM and wireless areas in terms of paying?

Bruce McWilliams

No. This is – the interesting thing is – in these areas, our customers absolutely need to work with us to understand how to deploy these things. And this is very – so the relationships are very good, close working relationships. We're helping these guys get new products to market that the OEMs want. So, I don't expect there to be any kind of enforcement activities or legal events in this segment of our business. Maybe in five years or something when it becomes more common knowledge how to do some of the stuff that may happen. We hope it doesn't. But, you know, in our other business, it's a much more mature business, and that's a little bit of a different story.

Hans Mosesmann – Raymond James

Okay. Fair enough. And then one last one, but this one for Charlie, the OpEx, would we expect it to kind of stay at Q3 levels as we go forward excluding litigations?

Charlie Webster

Hans, yes. I think that's right. Our gradual commitment to increased R&D will play out slowly and our SG&A should be fairly stable as the year progresses.

Hans Mosesmann – Raymond James

Great. Thank you.

Operator

We have reached the end of the allotted time for questions. Do you have any further comments?

Bruce McWilliams

No. I want to thank all of you for your support and we look forward to our next call with you. Thank you.

Operator

This does conclude today's Tessera Technologies second quarter earnings call. You may now disconnect.

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Source: Tessera Technologies, Inc. Q2 2008 Earnings Call Transcript
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