No Imagination: UK Chip Biz Goes Up for Sale
UK chip designer Imagination Technologies has put itself up for sale just weeks after iPhone maker Apple said it would stop using the company's technology. (See Eurobites: UK UBB Providers Cry Foul Over 'Phony Fiber'.)
Imagination Technologies Group plc said it had decided to begin a formal sale process after a number of parties expressed interest in buying it.
It had already put its MIPS and Ensigma operations up for sale and also said today that it has received "indicative proposals" for both of those businesses.
The MIPS processors are aimed largely at supporting autonomous vehicle technologies, while Ensigma focuses on wireless connectivity as well as the broadcasting sector.
The company remains locked in a dispute with Apple, which accounts for about half of Imagination's revenues but announced in April that it would stop using Imagination within two years. (See Eurobites: Imagination Rocked by Apple Shut-Out.)
Imagination has argued that Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) will struggle to develop its own chip technology for iPhones, iPads and iPods without intruding on its intellectual property.
It kicked off legal proceedings over license payments last month.
Potential bidders for Imagination could include Qualcomm, Intel and Apple, which currently owns an 8% stake in the business.
Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) is involved in its own bitter intellectual property dispute with Apple and might regard a takeover of Imagination as a source of ammunition in that battle. (See Qualcomm Blasts Apple for Disrupting Deals in Legal Dispute.)
Although Apple appeared to rule out a takeover of Imagination last year, it could decide otherwise simply to keep Imagination out of Qualcomm's hands.
Imagination's share price lost more than 60% of its value on the London Stock Exchange following Apple's announcement in April, falling to just £1.03 ($1.30, at today's exchange rate).
Shares were boosted by today's news, however, and trading up 17%, at about £1.45 ($1.84), at the time of publication.
Imagination made revenues of £64.4 million ($81.5 million) in the six months to October 2016, an increase of 6% on sales in the year-earlier period.
It also swung from an operating loss of £5.5 million ($7 million) to a profit of about £2.9 million ($3.7 million) over the same period.
Net losses including discontinued operations came in at £10.1 million ($12.8 million), down from £20.8 million ($26.3 million) a year earlier.
— Iain Morris, , News Editor, Light Reading