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Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Intel sells off Wind River

By Nick Flaherty

In a surprise move, Intel is selling off realtime operating system vendor Wind River to a private equity firm.

Private equity buys firms with debt and optimises them for selling on, which would capitalise on the dramatic growth of the Internet of Things and embedded software security and the coming consolidation of such companies. The key is that Intel does not need to own the company to take advantage of the technologies, which are bought by Intel's customers. 

TPG will acquire the company from Intel for an undisclosed sum, although Intel paid $884m back in 2009 - the current deal would be less than half that value. Wind River President, Jim Douglas, and his existing executive management team will lead the newly independent Wind River after the transaction closes in the second quarter of 2018.

This follows Intel providing technology for an embedded reference hypervisor specifically for the Internet of Things (IoT). The ACRN project uses engineering and code contributions from Intel with two main components: the hypervisor and its device model, complete with I/O mediators. This still gives Intel influence over the development of the technology without the associated costs of Wind River. Competition with the WR tech was highlighted by the Embedded blog two weeks ago.

“Our technology team is focused on backing strong, market-leading companies in growing industries,” said Nehal Raj, Partner and Head of Technology investing at TPG. “We see a tremendous market opportunity in industrial software driven by the convergence of the Internet of Things (IoT), intelligent devices and edge computing. As a market leader with a strong product portfolio, Wind River is well positioned to benefit from these trends. We are excited about the prospects for Wind River as an independent company, and plan to build on its strong foundation with investments in both organic and inorganic growth.”

For nearly 40 years, Wind River has helped the world’s technology leaders power generation after generation of the safest, most secure devices in the world. The company’s software runs the computing systems of the most important modern infrastructure, including manufacturing plants, medical devices, aircraft, railway, automobiles, and communications networks. Wind River’s products and solutions enable engineers, developers, manufacturers, and system integrators to build intelligent connected devices, sensors, gateways, and networks that unlock machine data and connect it to cloud and IT environments.

“This acquisition will establish Wind River as a leading independent software provider uniquely positioned to advance digital transformation within critical infrastructure segments with our comprehensive edge to cloud portfolio,” said Jim Douglas, Wind River President. “At the same time, TPG will provide Wind River with the flexibility and financial resources to fuel our many growth opportunities as a standalone software company that enables the deployment of safe, secure, and reliable intelligent systems.”

“This move is designed to sharpen our focus on growth opportunities that align to Intel’s data-centric strategy,” said Tom Lantzsch, senior vice president and general manager of the Internet of Things Group at Intel. “Wind River will remain an important ecosystem partner, and we will continue to collaborate on critical software-defined infrastructure opportunities to advance an autonomous future. We expect this transition will be seamless for our mutual customers and partners.”

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