Mentor Graphics Buys Tanner EDA

Move adds custom analog and mixed signal capability for Mentor, positions company for IoT.

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By Ed Sperling & Brian Bailey

Mentor Graphics has just purchased Tanner EDA for an undisclosed sum, according to sources close to the deal.

The acquisition moves Mentor squarely into the analog and mixed signal tools world, while positioning it to play a much bigger role in the Internet of Things market.

Mentor isn’t the first large EDA company to push into analog. Cadence has had tools in this part of the market for years, and Synopsys stepped into the market with the acquisition of Magma Design and Springsoft. But both of those are high-end plays. Tanner’s focus is at established nodes where IoT sensors and communications technology will likely be developed.

The acquisition is the latest example of EDA companies reaching outside their core market for growth. There are simply fewer companies willing to pay for the research and tools necessary for smaller geometries. Mentor has been particularly proactive, moving into embedded software, cabling, thermal and other areas before they became attractive.

Time to market has become king, and ease of use will become the new mantra for IoT software. What the IoT needs is quick and easy tools that work on older nodes and combine analog, mixed-signal and MEMS in a cost effective way. This acquisition also provides a way for Mentor to get back to being a full flow provider.

Details of the acquisition are expected to emerge next week when the companies issue a press release. Until then, neither company is commenting as the deal is not expected to have a material impact on Mentor as a public company.



  • Sotiris Bantas

    Interesting move and nice to see M&A movement in EDA, especially analog. This makes sense for Mentor, as there are notable synergies with their BDA acquisition. Combining Tanner with BDA and Calibre gives you a full suite for analog mixed-signal IP creation.

    But I somewhat disagree with your thesis that IoT will happen over ‘established’ nodes. IoT is both cost and power sensitive, creating opportunity for mobile SoC players to leverage their huge investments in cutting edge nodes. 28/20nm single die, combining ARM with low power RF will win over any older node combination chipset.

    • Brian Bailey

      I Make the assertion because I believe integration is even more important. The memories necessary, analog, sensors and the things that make up the majority of the chip area for IoT edge devices cannot migrate to 28/20nm. Most will be in 65 or 40nm for the foreseeable future. If we are talking about infrastructure or hub components of the IoT then I agree with you, but these do not have the analog content which was pertinent to this acquisition.

    • Simon

      I think that the idea that IoT will happen in established nodes stems from the fact that while overall volumes should be massive, these will be divided over an extremely wide range of medium volume products.
      Also, IoT requires very low power consumption with low duty cycles which favours established processes with low leakage rather than newer processes with low active power.

    • mbg

      So I am with Mentor, but with Calibre not DSM, so not directly involved in the Tanner acquisition. However, from a Calibre prespective we do see IOT helping keep established node tape outs very active. Moreover, these new established node tape outs are much more complex than you would initially assume; ergo lots of power islands, increased 3rd party IP, higher reliability requirements. Which means the design flow requirements look a lot more like advanced node flows than a reload of an 8 year old CAD tool suite.