Sony To Buy Back Toshiba Chip Line To Boost Chip Output
Acquisitions are an often useful way for companies to expand their lineup of products, offer new services or improve the products they are already offering. We’ve heard about more than a fair share of acquisitions this year and today we’re about to talk about a new one. Sony Corp. is said to be in talks to buy a Japanese microchip production line from another pretty well known company, Toshiba, for roughly 50 billion yen ($598 million). The idea behind this move is for Sony to boost its output of chips for cameras and mobile phones, according to an industry source that revealed this information to Reuters on Thursday.
The interesting thing is that the facility used to belong to Sony not so long ago. The company sold it to Toshiba who is currently the third chip maker for 90 billion yen in 2008. This sellout was a part of Sony’s “asset light” strategy. Now that it’s aiming to boost its output capacity of image sensors that it uses in digi cams and mobile phones, Sony has thought it a good idea to buy back the production lines situated in southern Japan’s Nagasaki prefecture. This is allegedly happening because of high demand for the company’s products (including mobile phones although to be completely fair Sony Ericsson hasn’t really sold a lot of them in the past period. Maybe this is linked to the upcoming two phones the company is preparing).
In an interview with Reuters, Sony executive deputy president Hiroshi Yoshioka mentioned that the company was in the process of making a decision on how to cover a shortage in CMOS sensor output capacity. Sony is at this time the world’s second-largest digital camera manufacturer, surpassed in popularity only by Cannon. As for its mobile phone joint venture with Ericsson, called Sony Ericsson, the company hasn’t really released anything exciting in the past year or so but it is getting ready to introduce two new handsets that might end up selling like hotcakes, a successor for the flagship Xperia X10 called X12 and codenamed Anzu and a handset we’ve been waiting to see for years which will either go under the name of Playstation Phone or Xperia Play. Both these handsets should be unveiled in the next two months or so.
According to Nokkei business daily, this Sony acquisition would most likely double the company’s image sensor output capacity to an estimate of 40,000 silicon wafers a month. Sony apparently still owns the building that the chip line is housed in. We’ll just have to wait and see what Sony is going to do with double the output of CMOS sensors. As mentioned before we’re probably in for some nice and shiny new products. We’ll let you know as soon as we find out more about this.11