Apple is in talks with chipmaker Renesas Electronics over the potential acquisition of a unit that creates chips for smartphone displays, reports Japanese business site Nikkei. The chips, which are already used in the iPhone’s liquid crystal displays, improve both image sharpness and battery life.
Renesas SP Drivers, the division Apple is aiming to purchase, is a leading producer of drivers and controllers for small LCDs. The company is a joint venture between Renesas, Sharp, and Powerchip, with Apple offering 50 billion yen or $479 million for Renesas’ 55 percent stake in the company. Following the transaction, Sharp is also expected to sell its 25 percent of shares in Renesas SP to Apple, while Powerchip will retain 20 percent.
Renesas SP is the world’s leading producer of drivers and controllers for small and midsize LCDs, with a market share of around one-third. These chips determine a display’s quality and performance as well as a phone’s overall energy efficiency – they are said to account for around 10% of battery usage.
Renesas’ 240 employees are expected to stay with Apple and the company is aiming to complete the transaction by the summer.
In recent years Apple has taken a greater interest in controlling its own production supplies and core technologies, signing a deal with GT Advanced that will provide it with massive quantities of sapphire and purchasing several chip firms in the past, including P.A. Semi and Passif Semiconductor.
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