Sony is the biggest player in the mobile image sensor business and has likely just secured its position. The company has announced that it will purchase Toshiba’s rival imaging business for 19 billion yen ($155 million).
Following a series of rumors, the two companies had originally signalled the closing stages of the deal back in October. Today’s announcement sees the signing of definitive agreements and confirms that Toshiba’s fabrication plant, equipment, and around 1,100 employees mainly located at its Oita Operations facility will be transferred over to Sony, along with the cost of the acquisition. The facility will operate under Sony’s newly formed Semiconductor Corporation, a subsidiary that was formed along with a number of others to give Sony’s various business arms greater autonomy.
Sony is the largest sensor developer in both the smartphone and high-end camera markets. The company’s sensors power a range on flagship smartphone cameras, including the Galaxy S6, LG V10 and the Huawei Mate 8. In the mobile space, Sony has become increasingly dependent on its semiconductor sales in order to offset losses from its struggling handset business. Toshiba had seen more limited success in high-end mobile products, but its T4KA7 sensor was apparently used in the HTC One M9.
The two companies aim to have the asset transfers completed by the financial year ending March 2016.