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Broadcom to buy Netlogic Microsystems for $3.7 billion

Broadcom agreed Monday to buy NetLogic Microsystems for $3.7 billion in cash, in a bid to capitalize on the world’s surging data needs.

The acquisition, Broadcom’s largest to date, is part of a strategic push into semiconductor chips for advanced networking devices. With NetLogic, Broadcom gains a valuable portfolio of patents and a coveted collection of processors for routers, complementing the company’s vast chip business for consumer devices like cellphones and set-top boxes.

“This greatly expands our market opportunities in the networking space,” Broadcom’s chief executive, Scott A. McGregor, said in an interview. “We’ll be the only company that provides complete end-to-end solutions in networking.”

As more consumers buy smartphones and spend increasing time on the Internet, companies like NetLogic that build the pipelines of the communications industry are becoming increasingly attractive takeover targets. Earlier this year, Qualcomm agreed to acquire Atheros, another networking equipment company, for $3.1 billion.

—Evelyn M. Rusli and Michael J. De La Merced,
The New York Times

36 light-years away, new hope for an Earth-like planet

European astronomers said Monday that they had found what might be the best candidate for a Goldilocks planet yet: a lump of something about 3.6 times as massive as the Earth, circling its star at the right distance for liquid water to exist on its surface — and thus, perhaps, to host life, as we narrowly imagine it.

The planet, known as HD 85512b, is about 36 light-years from here, in the constellation Vela. It orbits its star at about a quarter of the distance that Earth circles the sun, taking 58 days to make a year. That distance would put it in the star’s so-called habitable zone, if the planet is rocky and has some semblance of an atmosphere — “if everything goes right and you have clouds to shelter you,” as Lisa Kaltenegger of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany, summarized it.

Astronomers cautioned, however, that it would take years and observations from telescopes not yet built before those assumptions could be tested and a search for signs of life could be undertaken.

—Dennis Overbye, The New York Times

Niger, Libya’s neighbor, fears influx of Gadhafi loyalists

NIAMEY, Niger — Officials in this mostly desert nation bordering Libya are warily watching and bracing for what they call the disaster scenario that has not yet happened: a huge influx of defeated soldiers loyal to the fallen Libyan leader, Moammar Gadhafi.

So far, they have had to contend only with a thin trickle of loyalists making their way across hundreds of miles of desert to the bare-bones towns in northern Niger, including one of Gadhafi’s sons, a handful of his generals and his security chief.

But officials here in one of the world’s most impoverished nations emphasized that the diplomatic awkwardness of allowing the former government’s dignitaries here was nothing compared with the influx they feared with somewhat more urgency each day the Libyan conflict was drawn out.

“If there is a negotiated solution, we won’t get the worst case,” said Massaoudou Hassoumi, the chief of staff to Niger’s president, Mahamadou Issoufou. “Unfortunately, it looks like that won’t happen. So, it looks like there will be armed men. If they don’t hand over their weapons, we will disarm them.”

“What’s happened so far is very minimal,” Hassoumi said.

—Adam Nossiter, The New York Times