News Dec 05, 2015 09:08 AM EST

Sony Acquired Toshiba Image Sensor Business for $155 Million

By Staff Writer

Sony has confirmed its acquisition of Toshiba image sensor for ¥19 billion ($155 million), including all fabrication facilities, equipment and related assets. All image sensors will be operating under Sony Semiconductor Corporation, a new company established by Sony Corp. last October.

According to The Verge, the plan was first rumored in October. Sony has now officially announced its purchase of Toshiba semiconductor fabrication facilities for ¥19 billion or equal to $155 million. The 48,800 sqm facilities is located in Oita City, Japan with two main produts: CMOS image sensors and memory controllers.

According to agreement between the two companies, Toshiba will transfer all facilities, equipments and assets to a Sony's new subsidiary, Sony Semiconductor Corporation. Previously Sony spun off its semi conductor business in October, to become a new business entity that produce image sensor. Sony's image sensor is used in many high-end smartphone and digital camera worldwide.

On the other hand, Toshiba still have to deal with aftermath of the accounting scandal in July that forcing CEO Hisao Tanaka to resign. In the scandal Toshiba overstated its operating profit by ¥151.8 bilion ($1.2 billion) over a seven years period, roughtly triple the estimation. As a result, Toshiba must do a major write-down of its profit, and the company now is now looking to spin-off its PC business.

Wall Street Journal reported, the plan to spin-off the PC business is its latest effort to strip out unprofitable units after the scandal. Toshiba was a successful brand in laptop and personal-computer business, but now it fell way behind industry leader with only 2.3% market share worldwide for laptop computers and tablets.

Large number of Japanese electronic companies quit the PC and laptop computer, that was one a profitable market for them. Hitachi and Sharp has exited the market and others like Panasonic and NEC that has a minority share in Lenovo is targeting enterprise customers. Current market leaders are Apple Inc with 21.1% and Samsung Electronics Co. with 13.2%.

Toshiba's plan to spin-off its unprofitable business unit is welcomed by investors. On Friday, Toshiba shares was closed down 1.1%, slightly better than overall market. According to Tomichiro Kubota, analyst Matsui Securities, "The news itself is positive," but he added, "Such a reform should have occurred five years ago."

As for Sony, acquisition of Toshiba semiconductor facilities for its image sensor production will benefit much. Gizmodo reported that Sony last year made around 40% of all new image sensors in the market. Every Samsung Galaxy S6 and iPhone 6 that was shipped likely had two Sony image sensors packed inside.

Sony now holds ownership of former Toshiba semiconductor fabrication facilities. That is a great opportunity to expand its production capacity. Thus, growing Sony's domination in the image sensor market.

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