Synopsys acquires Magma

Synopsys acquires Magma
by Paul McLellan on 11-30-2011 at 4:41 pm

 So Synopsys announced today that it has signed an agreement to acquire Magma. There will be a regulatory delay etc before it finally closes.

So why did they do it? Despite Magma being thought of as a place and route company, they have two other product that are perhaps more significant for Synopsys: FineSim and Tekton.

FineSim, Magma’s circuit simulator, has been eating Synopsys’s lunch. According to their financial filings they have lost about $50-70M in the fast Spice market, some to Berkeley Design Automation but also a lot to FineSim. I’ve heard, but I’ve not seen any definitive data anywhere, that FineSim is actually a bigger business for Magma than place and route. It also has a lot of momentum and the market is less fragmented, especially for digital and memory circuit simulation where FineSim is strong. It is less strong in the analog markets since they don’t have an environment of their own.

Tekton is Magma’s static timing analyzer. Earlier this week Magma announced that 25 companies have adopted Tekton, the fastest rate of adoption for any product in Magma’s history (it has been out for a about 18 months). It seems to be a real threat to PrimeTime’s dominance of the signoff timing space. My guess is that the Tekton technology will be slotted under the hood of PrimeTime and it will continue to be called PrimeTime.

In place and route it is hard to know what will happen. Synopsys are supposedly internally developing a new router and Magma’s place and route may fit in with that.

The other major product area is analog design and custom layout. Synopsys and Magma (along with Springsoft and others) are all competing against the Cadence Virtuoso franchise and the proprietary SKILL language that gives it a lot of lock in (especially since Virtuoso has been tweaked to not accept non-SKILL Pcells under some circumstances).

Funnily enough I was at Synopsys all morning when this was going on, at the interoperability conference. Aart appeared on video. Now we know one reason he had some other stuff on his plate today!

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