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Toshiba to sell image sensor unit to Sony

Posted: 26 Oct 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:image sensor? PC? semiconductor? smartphone?

Toshiba will sell its image sensor business to Sony for approximately 20 billion yen ($164.69 million), according to unnamed sources in a Reuters report.

The move is part of the company's restructuring plan after an independent investigation committee revealed the worst accounting scandal in Toshiba's 140-year history. The committee reported that the company had overstated its operating profits by 151.8 billion yen (about $1.22 billion) cumulatively over the period covered by the fiscal years 2008 to 2014.

Toshiba makes semiconductor components, personal computers, televisions and nuclear reactors. The misstating of accounts appears to have been born of managerial pressure placed on operating companies and affects the PC, visual products and semiconductor business units.

Toshiba's system LSI semiconductor business is the one responsible for its image sensors, which are used in consumer electronics such as smartphones and digital cameras. The company plans to leave the sensor business with the sale of its image sensor manufacturing plant in Oita, southern Japan, Reuters' sources said, adding that the deal is nearing its completion.

There are several options being considered by the Japanese company for its system LSI and its discrete semiconductor businesses, according to a Toshiba official contacted by Reuters. A Sony official, however, declined to comment on the issue.

Masashi Muromachi, Toshiba's newly appointed CEO after the accounting scandal broke out, has sworn to streamline lower-margin businesses, and the deal for the image sensor unit is said to be the beginning to the restructuring plan, according to a Nikkei report.

Sony is the leading supplier of CMOS image sensors used by China's Xiaomi and India's Micromax in their smartphones. Once the deal is completed, it will put Sony in a stronger position to compete against rivals such as Samsung.

- Stephen Padilla

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