NXP acquires British smart card chip maker

NXP has acquired British company Athena SCS. With the acquisition, the Eindhoven group wants to strengthen its position in the internet-of-things, wearables and automotive market. It is the second acquisition in a short time.

Athena SCS makes software and hardware such as chips for secure payments and authentication. The company is best known for its smart cards for identity documents, but Athena also makes NFC chips for contactless payments, just like NXP. Athena’s headquarters are in London and the group is active in Spain, Poland, Israel, Japan and the US.

The acquisition strengthens NXP’s position in secure products and services in the Internet-of-things, automotive and identification sectors, said Steve Owen, chief marketing officer of NXP Semiconductors. Athena’s knowledge of embedded software and cryptography would complement NXP’s offering, he says. NXP did not disclose an acquisition price.

It is the second acquisition in two weeks for NXP. Last week, the former Philips chip division announced that it was taking over its major competitor Freescale. The acquisition involved an amount of 10.6 billion euros.