Apple in talks for $479M stake in Japanese chipmaker Renesas SP Drivers - report

Posted:
in General Discussion edited April 2014
Apple could be on the verge of bringing another important hardware component in-house as the company is reportedly working on a deal to acquire controlling interest in Renesas SP Drivers, a Japanese firm that makes LCD chips for Apple's iPhone.




Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple has offered $479 million for Renesas's 55 percent stake in Renesas SP Drivers, according to Japanese business news agency Nikkei. Renesas SP Drivers is a joint venture between Japanese chipmaker Renesas, Sharp and Taiwanese manufacturer Powerchip.

Sharp, which owns 25 percent of the venture, would also likely sell its stake to Apple if the Renesas transaction is finalized, the publication says. Most of Renesas SP Drivers's 240-odd employees are expected to stay with the company in the event of a sale.

Renesas SP Drivers is said to be the sole supplier of LCD chips for Apple's iPhones, perhaps an indicator of why Apple wants greater control. These components play an integral role in determining the display's overall clarity and quality, an increasingly important differentiator for mobile devices.

If the deal goes through, it would be the largest known acquisition in Apple's history, surpassing the $404 million paid for NeXT in 1997 in a landmark transaction that brought Steve Jobs back to the company he founded.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 27
    moxommoxom Posts: 326member
    Wow!
  • Reply 2 of 27
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,682member

    it could allow them to put the technology into their own SOC thus eliminating another component on the board and allowing them to make smaller products.

  • Reply 3 of 27
    andysolandysol Posts: 2,506member

    Do it!

     

    Apple's acquisitions are rarely "newsworthy" like Nest, WhatsApp, Instagram, etc.  But they are substantially more significant.

  • Reply 4 of 27
    ceek74ceek74 Posts: 324member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post

     

    it could allow them to put the technology into their own SOC thus eliminating another component on the board and allowing them to make smaller products.


    I agree.  This is a very big deal.

  • Reply 5 of 27
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,983member
    I'd like to see them buy more of Imagination.
  • Reply 6 of 27
    bsimpsenbsimpsen Posts: 305member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post

     

    it could allow them to put the technology into their own SOC thus eliminating another component on the board and allowing them to make smaller products.


    While this acquisition would give Apple more control over the driver technology, and eliminate one level of margin, it would not allow integration of the driver into the SOC. The number of interconnects is simply too high. LCD driver chips are generally mounted on the LCD itself. For a 640x960x3 display, you'd need a minimum of 2880 conductors leading from the SOC to the display edges. It's more space efficient to carry the video stream from the SOC to the LCD serially.

  • Reply 7 of 27
    schlackschlack Posts: 705member
    Apple is doomed!
  • Reply 8 of 27
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,513member
    Important for controlling LCD panels? How big can these panels get?
  • Reply 9 of 27
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member
    I wonder if Renesas SP Drivers is working on OLED display controller chips.
    If they are, the purchase would be a whole lot more interesting. Hmmm.

    Oh, and Apple has done bigger deals. The GT Advanced sapphire deal is for $578 million.
    But that isn't an acquisition.

    And another random thought: who says the Renesas SP Drivers technology is for mobile devices?
    Maybe Apple could continue using LCD panels on iMacs, Thunderbolt Displays, and possibly
    an Apple-branded 4K display, with Renesas chips. And maybe (eventually) they'll roll out OLED-based
    technology on their mobile iOS devices first, where battery life is crucial. Of course, that won't happen
    until cost, quality, and longevity issues are all ironed out.
  • Reply 10 of 27
    They paid 500mm for Anobit. This seems like a similar acquisition. Technology tuck in that likely quickly pays for itself.
  • Reply 11 of 27
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,195member

    The fact that Apple always acquires companies I've never heard of means they do their fucking research and are acquiring technology they truly believe will enhance and help them in the long term, not over-spending countless billions on the latest fad. 

     

    Also, Apple should just go ahead and buy ARM. Yes, it would be a massively expensive purchase, but I have a feeling they can afford it (probably the only tech company who could), and it would truly **** everyone else over. 

  • Reply 12 of 27
    irelandireland Posts: 17,685member
    God Apple please buy 53! Please...

    And here a completely crazy idea! Buy Black Magic Design, build a new Color Mac app using DaVinci Resolve and build an Apple version of the BCC from the ground up with an aluminium unibody that runs a variant of iOS and is designed to work hand-in-hand with FCPX and sell it to young, upcoming filmmakers for €999 and you'll ignite a filmmaking revolution and sell millions of these things. It would also sell a tonne more high end computers for them I'd bet.

    If there's one thing filmmaking needs it's technical simplification and were Apple at all focused on doing something like that I'd bet it'd make filmmaking really interesting to a lot of people. They could dedicate a good portion of the pro sections of their stores to filmmaking. It'd be incredible.
  • Reply 13 of 27
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    slurpy wrote: »
    The fact that Apple always acquires companies I've never heard of means they do their fucking research and are acquiring technology they truly believe will enhance and help them in the long term, not over-spending countless billions on the latest fad. 

    Also, Apple should just go ahead and buy ARM. Yes, it would be a massively expensive purchase, but I have a feeling they can afford it (probably the only tech company who could), and it would truly **** everyone else over. 

    If ARM made the chips they were to use in their products I would agree but since they only need to buy the reference designs which they can then manipulate in the amazing ways we've read about with Cyclone yesterday I don't see such a purchase providing any longterm support to Apple's bottom line.
  • Reply 14 of 27
    sessamoidsessamoid Posts: 182member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

     

    Also, Apple should just go ahead and buy ARM. Yes, it would be a massively expensive purchase, but I have a feeling they can afford it (probably the only tech company who could), and it would truly **** everyone else over. 


    You mean RE-acquire ARM. Apple was one of the 3 original companies that founded ARM as a joint venture, but had reportedly since sold off their share of the company.

  • Reply 15 of 27
    cityguidecityguide Posts: 129member

    If you're Apple, you use your cash to solidify your position.

    If you're Icahn, you use your cash to pad your position.

     

    Sorry if it isn't relevant to the OP, but I'm still steamed by his old-school shareholder thinking, especially when juxtaposed to the thinking that grew Apple into the market leader it is today. 

  • Reply 16 of 27
    malaxmalax Posts: 1,598member

    April fools!  LOL.  Good one, AI.

  • Reply 17 of 27
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,513member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post



    God Apple please buy 53! Please...



    And here a completely crazy idea! Buy Black Magic Design, build a new Color Mac app using DaVinci Resolve and build an Apple version of the BCC from the ground up with an aluminium unibody that runs a variant of iOS and is designed to work hand-in-hand with FCPX and sell it to young, upcoming filmmakers for €999 and you'll ignite a filmmaking revolution and sell millions of these things. It would also sell a tonne more high end computers for them I'd bet.



    If there's one thing filmmaking needs it's technical simplification and were Apple at all focused on doing something like that I'd bet it'd make filmmaking really interesting to a lot of people. They could dedicate a good portion of the pro sections of their stores to filmmaking. It'd be incredible.

     

    It would be nice if Apple bought a controlling interest in RED. (www.red.com)

  • Reply 18 of 27
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,433member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by malax View Post

     

    April fools!  LOL.  Good one, AI.


    The chances of this being a hoax are relatively slim, although it's something I considered myself.

     

    The original report came from Nikkei, a respected Japanese business daily. We're not talking about Digitimes or BGR.

     

    April Fool's pranks are not widespread in Japan. Moreover, the actual Nikkei article was posted on April 2nd at 2am local time (JST).

     

    If it ends up being a hoax, it's a damn good one, since it involves the partial acquisition of a business unit that deals with decidedly obscure technology (not a name brand consumer company). Also, it's pretty gutsy to engage in this charade the day after the actual prank day.

  • Reply 19 of 27
    pk22901pk22901 Posts: 139member
    Is Apple buying Renesas so they can offload the LCD computational load from the Ax SoC allowing the developer to code to one 'standard' display?

    Apple's Renesas chip would take that std display output stream and adapt it to the actual display of the device, whatever its native resolution.

    Perhaps Apple is creating a pdf display driver at last.
  • Reply 20 of 27
    fred02fred02 Posts: 1member
    Wonder how Apple going to pay for this...in Yen? The co. would have to have a sizable chuck of it with only their Iphone sales in Japan. It would seem a good way to spend some of the ex-US cash they are accumulating.
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