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Toshiba, Sony confirm transfer of image sensor facilities

Posted: 29 Oct 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:CMOS? image sensor? iPhone? acquisition?

Toshiba and Sony have signed a memorandum of understanding confirming the intent of both companies to transfer certain semiconductor facilities, equipment and related assets of Toshiba's 300mm wafer production line in Oita Prefecture to Sony.

A Reuters report stated earlier this week that Toshiba will sell its image sensor business to Sony for about 20 billion yen ($164.69 million).

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.

By withdrawing from the CMOS image sensors business, Toshiba will be able to devote its resources to products where it has a high technological advantage, as well as improve the profitability of its system LSI business.

Following the transfer, Sony plans to operate the site as a production facility of its subsidiary Sony Semiconductor Corporation primarily for manufacturing CMOS image sensors.

Image sensors are important for Sony because these devices will help the company to strengthen its position in the smartphone market. Apple uses Sony sensors in the iPhone, and other big players such as Google and China's Xiaomi have Sony chips in their products.

Apart from smartphones, Sony also has a strong foothold in the sensor market for high-end cameras.

Both companies are arranging for about 1,100 Toshiba employees that will be affected by the deal. No details have been given yet as to the number of people who will lose their jobs. Financial details have not been disclosed as well.

After due diligence on the semiconductor fabrication facilities, equipment and related assets to be transferred, Sony and Toshiba aim to execute legally binding definitive agreements by the end of 2015. Thereafter, the two Japanese companies will complete the transfer within the fiscal year ending March 31, 2016, subject to any required regulatory approvals.

- Stephen Padilla

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