Phoenix Technologies Ltd is to acquire Sand Microelectronics Inc, its second acquisition this year. The BIOS company will pay $27.5m for Sand, a developer of synthesizable cores, the basic building blocks for ASIC and FPGA designs. Like Phoenix, Sand is based in San Jose, California, and has concentrated most of its efforts on providing interconnect technology needed for industry standard intelligent bus interfaces such as PCI, USB and IEEE 1394. The last two represent fast growing new marketplaces, with 1394 Firewire units expected to increase from several million today to over 550m units by 1992, according to market researcher In-Stat. USB is now supported by Windows 98 and USB ports are included in many PCs and in the Apple iMac. Phoenix has similar technology for AGP and IrDA connections, and says the combined business will give it over 250 licenses for interconnect semiconductor IP with PC peripherals, communications and semiconductor companies. The new demand for system-on-a-chip technology is also driving Phoenix’s interest in synthesizable cores. Phoenix will gradually integrate Sand’s business into the Virtual Chips Inc business it acquired in 1996 (CI No 2,959). It will pay $20m in cash and 500,000 restricted shares of Phoenix common stock on closing the deal, which could be as soon as next week. Up to $4m will be paid over three years, based on performance. Phoenix will take a charge in this quarter for the write-off of in-process research and development. The company also hopes to close its April acquisition of Award Software International Inc (CI No 3,391) by the end of next week, which could result in a $5m to $6m charge relating to the acquisition, along with some redundancies charges. Phoenix now has three buildings in San Jose, which it hopes to consolidate down to two.