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Hifn was a semiconductor manufacturer founded in 1996 as a corporate spin-off from Stac Electronics. Its name was originally styled as Hi/fn, and located in Carlsbad, California.[1] The company was later headquartered in Los Gatos, California, and had offices in North America, Europe and Asia. It designed and sold security processors.[2] It was acquired by Exar in 2009.


1971-2008: Founding and early years[edit]

Hifn was founded in 1996 as a spin-out of the semiconductor company Stac, Inc. It held its initial public offering in December 1998. The company's stock was traded on the NASDAQ under the symbol HIFN.[3]

Hifn was the first company to offer a processor with integrated encryption and compression in 1998, and followed this in 1999 with the fastest security processor for VPNs.

In 2000, Hifn announced an Intelligent Packet Processor - a security co-processor capable of not just performing raw algorithm processing, but of modifying the complete packet, allowing their processors to transform an IP packet into an IPSec packet in a single pass in the security processor with only the policy and IPSec stack being required on the host CPU. They announced a security processor featuring the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) algorithm in 2001.

In 2004 they followed on from their packet processor with an IPSec protocol processor capable of performing IPSec and Internet Key Exchange processing with no CPU intervention. They also adapted this processor for the storage area network market, for applications such as iSCSI. A secondary offering was priced on April 12, 2004.[4]

Hifn also offered security processors for secure VoIP and WiMax applications, and marketed then for "application-aware" flow classifiers and search engines.

In earlier 2004, Hifn acquired part of IBM Network Processor assets in addition to PowerNP's intellectual property license. Since then Hifn became the sole vendor of PowerNP (IBM code: Rainier) to some telecom/datacom equipment manufacturers.[which?]

Roubik Gregorian became chief executive in February 2005.[5] In April 2005 Exar bought optical networking assets of Infineon Technologies.[6]

In February 2007 Gregorian resigned.[7]

In August 2007, Exar acquired Sipex. By April 2008, the fourth chief executive was announced in 15 months, Pedro "Pete" Rodriguez.[8]

Acquisition by Exar[edit]

On April 3, 2009, Exar Corporation (a semiconductor manufacturer) closed the acquisition of hi/fn, inc. The transaction included stock and about $67 million in cash.[9][10][11]


Hifn held the patents for the Lempel–Ziv–Stac and Microsoft Point-to-Point Compression compression algorithms.[1]


  1. ^ a b "company background". Original web site. Archived from the original on April 9, 1997. Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  2. ^ "About Hifn". 2009 web site. Archived from the original on March 15, 2009. Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  3. ^ "Form 10: General Form for the Registration of Securities". United States Securities and Exchange Commission. December 10, 1998. Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  4. ^ "HI/FN INC (HIFN) SPO". NASDAQ. Retrieved June 24, 2013.
  5. ^ "Exar Corporation Announces the Appointment of Roubik Gregorian as CEO and President" (Press release). February 16, 2005.
  6. ^ "Exar buys Infineon's optical networking assets". Silicon Valley Business Journal. April 7, 2005. Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  7. ^ "Exar's CEO resigns, company will pay interim head $35,000 monthly". Silicon Valley Business Journal. February 23, 2007. Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  8. ^ "Exar names fourth CEO in 15 months". San Jose Mercury News. April 23, 2008. Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  9. ^ "Exar Corporation Closes Hifn Acquisition" (Press release). April 3, 2009. Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  10. ^ "Form 8K: Changes in Control of Registrant". United States Securities and Exchange Commission. April 3, 2009. Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  11. ^ "Exar Corporation Announces Completion of Exchange". April 3, 2009. Archived from the original on September 30, 2011. Retrieved September 2, 2016.