Qualcomm to Sell Fleet-Tracking arm for $800 Million

Vista Equity Partners is buying Omnitracs from San Diego chip maker.

Qualcomm announced Friday that is had agreed to sell Omnitracs, the fleet-tracking business that provided the early income allowing the company to become the wireless industry giant it is today.

The sale will be to the private equity firm Vista Equity Partners for $800 million, and marks Qualcomm’s exit from a business that generated much-needed cash flow in the 1980s and ‘90s, when the company engineers were working to perfect Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA). That become the first cornerstone of its wireless chip business.

Today, wireless chip and technology licensing revenue dwarfs omnitracs sales, making the business an outsider to the company’s core market of providing wireless connectivity to smartphones, tablets and other devices.

 While Omnitracs is a small piece of the larger Qualcomm, it is the market leader in fleet tracking worldwide, especially for the largest long-haul trucking corporations, according to Clem Driscoll, president of consulting and market research firm C.J. Driscoll & Associates.

A Qualcomm spokesperson said all employees in the Omnitracs business unit, as well as employees dedicated to supporting the Omnitracs business, will move to Vista Equity once the deal is complete. She said the company does not break out employment for specific divisions.

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