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Nov. 17, 2015, 8:25 AM
- Four days after EZchip (NASDAQ:EZCH) announced it's postponing a shareholder vote on Mellanox's (NASDAQ:MLNX) planned $25.50/share ($811M) acquisition of the company and has been offered a 30-day go-shop period and termination fee waiver, the company states it has signed off on the revised agreement.
- Should no superior offer arrive during the go-shop period, EZchip shareholders will vote on the deal at a Jan. 19 meeting (Dec. 18 record date). EZchip sees the deal closing in Q1.
- With shares having closed yesterday at $24.04, EZchip remains 5.7% below Mellanox's offer price.
Nov. 12, 2015, 10:53 AM
- Following pressure from activist Raging Capital to get a better deal, EZchip (EZCH +2.6%) has postponed a shareholder vote on Mellanox's (MLNX +0.9%) planned $25.50/share ($811M) acquisition of the company. The vote was set for today's shareholder meeting.
- In addition, Mellanox has granted EZchip a 30-day go-shop period to solicit alternative bids, and has waived its rights to a deal termination fee.
- Mellanox is affirming its $25.50/share, all-cash, offer. EZchip has risen to $24.55 on today's news.
Sep. 30, 2015, 12:43 PM
Sep. 30, 2015, 10:25 AM
- Mellanox (MLNX -7.3%) has sold off after announcing it's buying network processor (NPU) vendor and Israeli tech peer EZchip (EZCH +14.3%) for $811M in cash. Meanwhile, telecom/data center chipmakers Cavium (CAVM +3.5%), AppliedMicro (AMCC +4.1%), and PMC-Sierra (PMCS +7.9%) are rallying amid a 2% Nasdaq gain - each company's product line includes (but is by no means limited to) NPUs.
- Whereas Mellanox is focused on high-speed data center connectivity hardware (e.g. adapter cards, switches, switching and adapter ICs), EZchip still gets the majority of its revenue from NPUs going into edge routers and other telecom hardware. However, the company has been trying to expand its data center footprint, via its new NPS processor line (supports deeper packet analysis) and its Tilera unit (acquired in 2014, set to launch a processor supporting 100 ARM cores).
- Mellanox asserts EZchip's "products and expertise in security, deep packet inspection, video, and storage processing" will help it "deliver complete end-to-end, intelligent 10, 25, 40, 50, and 100Gb/s interconnect and processing solutions for advanced data center and [telecom] edge platforms." The purchase price is equal to 5.9x EZchip's 2016 sales consensus; Mellanox trades for just 2.3x 2016E sales.
- Update: Summit Research's Srini Nandury thinks Mellanox's selloff stems from the company's failure to reiterate Q3 guidance during today's conference call, in spite of repeatedly being asked by analysts to do so.
Sep. 30, 2015, 9:13 AM
Sep. 30, 2015, 7:51 AM
- The price works out to $25.50 per share in cash for EZchip (NASDAQ:EZCH) versus last night's close of $21.99.
- "We expect our combined technologies, and product portfolios to deliver leading end-to-end intelligent interconnect and processing solutions to data centers and wide area networks," says Mellanox (NASDAQ:MLNX) CEO Eyal Waldman.
- The deal is expected to close in Q1.
- A conference call is set for 8:30 ET.
Aug. 17, 2015, 2:14 PM
- In a weekend column, Bloomberg notes the use of home-grown switches by Web/cloud giants such as Facebook, Google, and Amazon spells an opportunity for network processor (NPU) vendors such as EZchip (NASDAQ:EZCH), and could help the company offset an expected decline in Cisco revenue due to Cisco's decision to use its own ASICs in next-gen edge router line cards.
- EZchip, of course, isn't alone in going after the opportunity: Broadcom, Marvell, Intel, and Cavium are among the firms currently present in the data center NPU market. EZchip, which historically has depended on NPU sales for carrier equipment, is targeting data centers both via its NPS-400 processors (will begin sampling in Q4, recorded 5 tier-1 design wins in Q2), and via its Tilera unit's TILE-Mx family (supports up to 100 64-bit ARM cores, begins sampling in 2H16).
- Shares are up 29% since EZchip delivered a Q2 beat and in-line guidance last Wednesday. Brean upgraded on Thursday.
Aug. 13, 2015, 11:23 AM
- Brean has upgraded EZchip (NASDAQ:EZCH) to Buy a day after the company post a Q2 beat and issued in-line Q3 guidance. Chardan Capital has hiked its target by $5 to $20. Shares are now up 18% over the last two days.
- Meanwhile, Cisco (CSCO - expected to make up ~35% of EZchip 2015 revenue) reported yesterday afternoon its router sales rose 3% Y/Y in the July quarter. On the earnings call (transcript), CEO Chuck Robbins noted high-end carrier router sales were strong, and that Cisco needs to "probably improve our performance in our edge routing platforms."
- EZchip's processors go into line cards for Cisco's ASR 9000 edge router line, but Cisco plans to use proprietary ASICs in next-gen edge router line cards. During EZchip's earnings call (transcript), CEO Eli Fruchter stated ~25% of EZchip's revenue is tied to the ASR 9000, and 10% to other Cisco products. "[W]e believe prior investor expectations for 35% to 40% of our revenues to be at risk due to the decision by Cisco for next generation line cards in its ASR9K platform, may be overstated."
Aug. 12, 2015, 11:00 AM
- In addition to beating Q2 estimates, EZchip (NASDAQ:EZCH) has guided on its earnings call for Q3 revenue of $30M-$31M, in-line with a $30.5M consensus. Many other chipmakers with strong telecom/networking exposure have issued below-consensus guidance (I, II).
- Though (as previously announced) Cisco doesn't plan to use EZchip's NPS-400 network processor (NPU) in next-gen edge router line cards, the company is expected to account for ~35% of EZchip's 2015 revenue. The NPS-400 is set to begin sampling in Q4; 5 NPS-400 design wins were scored in Q2 with tier-1 OEMs.
- CEO Eli Fruchter: "To the best of our knowledge, there is no NPU-based roadmap within other merchant silicon vendors. This could position EZchip to become the only high-end merchant NPU vendor in the market able to satisfy the growing demand from both traditional networking vendors as well as from new white box customers."
- Gross margin was 76.7%, up from 74% in Q1 and down from 80.9% a year ago. $4.7M was spent on buybacks. EZchip ended Q2 with $189M in cash (equal to 33% of its current market cap), and no debt.
- Q2 results, PR
Jul. 23, 2015, 2:56 PM
- Application delivery controller/security hardware vendor F5 (FFIV +6.9%) beat FQ3 estimates on the back of strong software sales, and provided above-consensus FQ4 EPS guidance (revenue was in-line). With growing 100G long-haul optical deployments serving as a tailwind, optical networking hardware vendor Infinera (INFN +9.6%) beat Q2 estimates and provided strong Q3 guidance.
- Also: Optical component vendor Alliance Fiber (AFOP +16%) beat estimates and offered healthy guidance. Strong datacom component demand from cloud service providers was cited.
- A slew of telecom/networking equipment, component, and chip vendors are higher on a day the Nasdaq is down 0.4%. The list includes Infinera rival Ciena (CIEN +1.6%), F5 rival Radware (RDWR +3.3%), and Alliance Fiber peer NeoPhotonics (NPTN +4.7%). Others include Ciena acquisition target Cyan (CYNI +1.8%) and chipmakers Cavium (CAVM +3.6%), PMC-Sierra (PMCS +3%), EZchip (EZCH +2.8%), and InPhi (IPHI +3.7%).
- Broader gains for chip stocks - the Philadelphia Semi Index is up 1.7% after selling off hard yesterday - are likely helping the chipmakers. Cisco, meanwhile, is up 2.2% after striking a deal to sell its share-losing set-top unit to Technicolor.
- During F5's earnings call, new CEO Manny Rivelo stated F5 now leads the virtual (software-based) ADC market, which has sometimes been seen as a major long-term threat to its ADC hardware business, and noted the company saw a 20% Y/Y increase in its deferred revenue balance (driven by services/subscription growth) to $743M. He also disclosed sales chief Dave Feringa is stepping down on Oct. 1; his successor will be named shortly.
- On Infinera's call, CEO Tom Fallon mentioned the company has now invoiced 12 customers for its new Cloud Xpress data center interconnect platform, up from 7 three months ago. For now, long-haul optical still makes up over 90% of revenue - Cloud Xpress growth, the pending launch of a metro aggregation product, and (provided it's approved) the Transmode acquisition should change that. 3 customers accounted for over 10% of Q2 revenue.
Jun. 16, 2015, 11:53 AM
- ZTE plans to use EZchip's (NASDAQ:EZCH) NPS-400 network processor in its next-gen carrier router line cards. The NPS-400, which succeeds the current-gen NP-5, delivers up to 480Gbps of throughput (twice the NP-5's), and is set to begin sampling in 2H15.
- ZTE accounted for 8% of EZchip's Q1 sales, trailing only Cisco's 35%. EZchip tumbled last month after using its Q1 report to announce Cisco is expected to use an proprietary ASIC in its next-gen edge router line cards in lieu of the NPS-400. The company is still hoping to sell Cisco on the NPS-1000, a future processor expected to provide 1Tbps of throughput.
May 13, 2015, 12:07 PM
- EZchip (NASDAQ:EZCH) has guided on its Q1 CC (prepared remarks - .pdf) for Q2 revenue of $27.5M-$28.5, in-line with a $28.3M consensus. Gross margin is expected to be around 75% - it was at 74% in Q1, down from 81.7% a year ago thanks to the Tilera acquisition.
- The company also tried hard to argue it can offset Cisco's decision not to use EZchip's NPS-400 NPU in its next-gen edge router line cards with various NPS-400 design wins from carriers, networking hardware vendors, and (Internet) data center owners. Tilera's TILE-Mx processors (support up to 100 ARM cores, aimed at data centers) were also cited as a future growth driver.
- Cisco accounted for 35% of EZchip's Q1 revenue, and ZTE 8%; Cisco sales are expected to grow in 2015 as NP-5 shipments ramp. The NPS processor line is expected to start producing revenue "as early as 2016," and the TILE-Mx line in 2017.
- Shares remain down sharply, but have slightly pared their premarket losses.
May 13, 2015, 9:26 AM
- EZchip (NASDAQ:EZCH) uses its Q1 report to state its largest customer (i.e. Cisco) doesn't currently plan to use EZchip's NPS-400 network processor (NPU) in its next-gen edge router line cards.
- The company adds Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) recently began using EZchip's NP-5 NPU (entered production in late 2014), that it doesn't think "a next generation successor for the NP-5 is likely to ship for approximately three years," and that the NP-5 is expected to "continue generating revenues at this customer for several more years beyond this three year period."
- Concerns that Cisco could drop EZchip in favor of an in-house NPU have been around since the networking giant unveiled its nPower X1 NPU in Sep. 2013. At the time, EZchip said it believes Cisco hasn't made a decision on which processor will succeed the NP-5.
- Today, EZchip says it believes Cisco's next-gen edge router line cards will require more throughput than is provided by the NPS-400 (480 Gbps), and that Cisco is "currently developing such a solution in-house." EZchip, for its part, is working on an NPS-400 successor (the 1Tbps NPS-1000) that it hopes to sell Cisco on. The NPS-400 begins sampling in 2H15, and is being considered for other platforms at Cisco (as well as other clients).
- EZchip has tumbled to $14.28 in premarket trading.
- Q1 results, PR
May 13, 2015, 9:15 AM
Jan. 29, 2015, 2:32 PM
- MoSys (MOSY -6.4%) is having a rough time ahead of tomorrow morning's Q4 report. Shares are 20% below where they traded before the networking SRAM maker posted a Q3 miss and reported seeing a design win slowdown on Nov. 4.
- This week has seen MoSys announce a partnership with network processor vendor EZchip (EZCH +1%) through which the former will provide a version of its Bandwidth Engine 3 SRAM IC optimized for the latter's NPS processors (set to sample this year, aimed at carrier Ethernet switches/routers and data center hardware).
- Also: MoSys has been showing off its SRAM and transceiver (PHY) ICs this week at the chip industry's DesignCon conference (runs from Jan. 27-30).
Dec. 22, 2014, 2:33 PM
- EZchip (EZCH +6.4%) declares its 200-gig NP-5 network processor "is now in full production," and is being "delivered in quantity to EZchip's customers for deployment in Tier-1 carrier and data-center networks."
- The NP-5 offers twice the throughput of the prior-gen NP-4, and carries an ASP that's 50% higher. EZchip asserts the extra horsepower will enable line cards with "multiple 40-Gigabit and 100-Gigabit ports."
- The company mentioned on its Q3 CC it's seeing "a lot of activity with ZTE" related to the NP-5, and that top customer Cisco plans to migrate its existing NP-4-based (edge router) platforms to the NP-5. However, EZchip would only say Cisco, which unveiled its nPower X1 processor last year, will "possibly" use the NP-5 in new platforms.
- EZchip's NPS processor line - it can handle deeper packet analysis, and is aimed at both carrier Ethernet and data center hardware - is expected to begin sampling next year.
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