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Agere Sniffing Around Trebia?

Agere Systems Inc. (NYSE: AGR.A) has expressed interest in acquiring IP storage chip startup Trebia Networks Inc., which earlier this week ceased active operations and laid off most of its employees, according to a former Trebia staffer (see Trebia Croaks).

Agere, a chip company based in Allentown, Pa., sells a wide range of integrated circuits, including silicon for high-density storage systems -- and its executives have said that storage and SANs are one of its key growth areas. Meanwhile, host bus adapter vendor Emulex Corp. (NYSE: ELX) was also said to be interested in picking up Trebia's technology.

"Emulex wanted to get the IP [intellectual property], but Agere wanted the company in its entirety," says the ex-Trebian. "They are supposedly going to call back a few people once the acquisition is completed." The source says between four and eight employees may be rehired in conjunction with a sale.

Trebia CEO Ruediger Stroh has confirmed the startup is negotiating to complete an acquisition, but he would not provide any information beyond that. An Agere spokesman declined to comment.

But an industry source familiar with Trebia says that Agere's name was not raised in any discussions about potential buyers, while Emulex's was. "Unless it's a late entry or the two Germans there were purposely spreading disinformation, my guess is [the buyer will be] Emulex," says this source.

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