Atmel Corp. said it plans to buy part of Motorola Inc.'s smart card business.

Atmel, a semiconductor manufacturer seeking to expand its smart card specialty, said it signed a nonbinding memorandum of understanding to take over Motorola's Smart Information Transfer, or SIT, unit. The, deal, expected to close by midyear, would make Atmel one of the top three suppliers of integrated circuits designed specifically for plastic cards.

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