I went to Atrenta's office to talk to Ajoy Bose (CEO) and Mike Gianfagna (VP marketing).
It's not been a secret that Atrenta has been looking to do an acquisition, but one challenge being as large as they are is that it has to be a reasonable sized acquisition to make any difference. NextOp is a private company with no institutional investors. It is a couple of dozen people, half in San Jose (who will move into Atrenta's building) and half in Shanghai (which will create a fifth R&D center for Atrenta, along with San Jose, India, Grenoble and, most recently, Sri Lanka where they have 20 people going to 30 by the end of the year).
Of course the other big aspect of an acquisition is that it should be synergistic with Atrenta's existing business, not just be a bit of additional revenue. That is it should be more than additive and drive growth too. NextOp fits the bill. It is a good sized business with good momentum and the Atrenta channel should be able to start selling the product immediately into their 200-odd customers (NextOp has about a dozen customers including Altera, AMD, IDT, PLX and nVidia. They are mostly already Atrenta customers too).
NextOp seems to do for functional verification what Atrenta does for synthesis, static timing, place and route and so on. That is they don't do any of those things but they make the whole process smoother and more effective, thus reducing cost, time-to-market and improving quality. NextOp looks at the results of simulations and generates assertions and functional coverage properties which can be used with simulation, emulation and formal verification to improve overall verification. They call this assertion synthesis.
NextOp will make a nice addition to IPKit too, which today encompasses a lot of factors like waivers that make flows based around integrating IP smoother. Now this can be expanded to include assertion and functional coverage properties, which was previously a hole in Atrenta's offering.
Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed. Both companies are private and it took several months of negotiations to reach a deal (two companies with currency that nobody really has a good valuation for must make for some interesting discussions).
NextOp website. Atrenta website. Press release is here.