A few days ago, rumors surfaced which suggested that Sony was preparing to close a deal to purchase Toshibas’ CMOS image sensor business. Today, Sony has confirmed that this is the case, although no financial details have been disclosed. The two have a contract to complete the deal by the financial year ending March 2016.
Sony also recently announced that it would spin off its image sensor business into a separate division, called Sony Semiconductor Corporation, in order to help keep the group competitive. The newly acquired business will fall under this new division, and all of Toshiba’s fabrication facilities, equipment, and employees at its plant in the southern Japanese city of Oita are set to come under the division’s control. As a result of the deal, approximately 1,100 employees are set to be transferred between the two companies.
Sony is notably the largest player in the image sensor business, and the division is viewed as highly important for the company, especially given its struggling mobile sales. Its Exmor RS image sensors have proven particularly popular in smartphones, catering across mid-range and premium segments of the market, which has allowed the company to profit from the success of its competitors. In fact, all of the smartphones that recently topped the DxOMark camera benchmark are packing Sony image sensors.
For Toshiba, the deal comes as part of a restructure following an accounting scandal in which they overstated about $1.3 billion in earnings. Sony’s announcement states that the deal will allow Toshiba to “devote its resources to products where it has a high technological advantage”.
This deal ensures that Sony will remain on top of the image sensor industry and should see the company continue to profit a market hungry for improved camera technologies.