Apple in talks to buy Japanese chipmaker for $479M

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Apple is in talks to buy Japanese chipmaker Renesas Electronics for $479M.

Rumors said that Apple Inc. is negotiating with Renesas Electronics, a semiconductor manufacturer in Japan, to acquire a unit that builds chips for smartphone displays.

A report from a Japanese publication said, it seems that Apple wants to bring the ?core technology in-house rather than cede development to the supplier? by buying Renesas Electronics? Renesas SP Drivers which is actually a Renesas joint venture with Sharp and Taiwan’s Powerchip. With this, Apple will have a hand over a unit of Renesas whose ?engineering may help it improve image sharpness and battery life.?

Apple is trying to negotiate with Renesas? entire 55% stake for an estimated 50 billion yen or $479 million and is expecting to close the deal by summer.

Moreover, Sharp, who owns 25% of the venture, is willing to sell its entire shares in Renesas SP to Apple after striking a deal with Renesas.

Renesas is a specialist semiconductor manufacturer, which operations are centered on three product categories developed worldwide?Microcontroller Units (MCUs), Analog and Power Devices, and System on Chips (SoC). Anchored by the MCU Business and its world-leading market share, Renesas Electronics is stepping up marketing efforts outside Japan and in emerging markets, eyeing business expansion in “Smart Society” applications and other growth fields to become a trustworthy partner able to meet customer needs worldwide by offering highly competitive products and optimal solutions in a timely manner.

?While Apple generally relies on multiple suppliers for each component, it gets all of its iPhone liquid crystal display chips from Renesas SP. With image quality becoming a crucial selling point for smartphones, Apple apparently wants to meld the design of core display components into overall product development. Apple’s share of global smartphone shipments fell to 15.2% last year, less than half that of archrival Samsung,? the Japanese publication also reported.

However, this is not the first time that Apple bought a chip-related company. Apple has acquired PA Semi, a boutique microprocessor design company which is known for its design of sophisticated, low-power chips. P.A. Semi was founded in 2003 by Dan Dobberpuhl, who was a lead designer for the well-regarded Alpha and StrongARM microprocessors developed by Digital Equipment in the 1990s.

Apple also bought, Intrinsity privately held Austin, Texas based fabless semiconductor company which was founded in 1997 as EVSX on the remnants of Exponential Technology and changed its name to Intrinsity in 2000. Intrinsity, a designer of ARM processor cores, is known for making zippy versions of a computer chip often found in mobile devices.

Way back 2012, Apple also acquired Israel-based flash memory startup Anobit, and more recently it purchased PrimeSense.

With all these acquisitions, it seems that Apple wants to be a chip giant in its own right.

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