Apple expected to purchase stake in LCD chip manufacturer Renesas

A7 processor

Apple is reportedly in talks to buy a majority stake in Renesas SP Drivers imaging chips firm. The firm has been designing LCD display chips for Apple for some time, and Apple is prepared to pay ¥50 billion (US$483 million) to buy the 55% stake of the company currently held by Renesas Electronics Corp. According to Nikkei:

Apple expects to complete the stake purchase by summer. The U.S. company "apparently wants to meld" the design of core display components into its overall product development as image quality becomes a crucial selling point for smartphones, the Nikkei said.

The other 45% of Renesas SP Drivers is owned by a combination of Sharp and Powerchip, holding 25% and 20% respectively. Sharp is apparently willing to sell their stake to Apple as well, if only Apple would ask — and that would be another ¥22 billion (US$220 million).

Apple has been progressively moving more and more of their chip design in-house, both in an effort to build more efficient and customized chips, as well as to move business away from rival Samsung.

Source: Nikkei, Via: Reuters

Derek Kessler

Managing Editor of Mobile Nations, Army musician, armchair pundit, and professional ranter.

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Apple expected to purchase stake in LCD chip manufacturer Renesas

5 Comments

I wonder if the Renesas technology can be applied to IGZO-based OLED panels.
That would, IMHO, help justify spending nearly half a billion on tech that is currently LCD-only.
I recall reading, years ago, that Apple and Sharp had patented a super-efficient OLED process.
But still, iMac + MacBook + Thunderbolt Displays might use LCD panels for many more years.

Another thought: maybe the acquisition is necessary to maintain secrecy.
Easier to control component suppliers' employees when you directly control their salaries.
Remember how the 64-bit A7 shocked the world? A similar thing could happen with displays.

Cult of Mac is reporting Apple is going to buy them out.. I highly doubt that.. Renesas is a manufacturer of all Apple's LCD chips, they don't just design them....

That would return Apple to being a manufacturer.. something they've gone out of there way to avoid in the past.. ..They seem to much prefer to just partner with, but not actually become, a production manufacturer. The deal with the GT Advanced to build a Sapphire Glass plant comes to mind..

The above from iMore that they are taking a large stake makes much more sense and is very Apple. Similar to the GT Sapphire Glass deal... Invest in, but not become, a manufacturer..

They don't want to be forced to hold that weight around their neck.. it's much more flexible to be able to shop around..