Imagination puts itself up for sale

Imagination puts itself up for sale

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Last month the company offered its MIPS processor division and ENSIGMA wireless IP division for sale, and these transactions are progressing, says the board of directors. Just yesterday it announced a deal with French wireless modem chip maker Sequans Communications to extend the use of the MIPS cores in its next generation 4G modems for tablets, mobile routers and other equipment.

The sell off of the divisions, including the sale of the system-on-chip division to UK design house Sondrel, followed the news that Apple, which owns 8% of the company, would no longer be using Imagination’s PowerVR graphics technology for its iPhones but would instead develop its own. Apple has already hired a number of Imagination engineers in the UK.

PowerVR was the one remaining business unit of the company, which says it has received interest from a number of parties for a potential acquisition of the whole Group. This implies that one of the buyers of the other divisions is interested in PowerVR technology as well, and multicore graphics technology such as PowerVR is a key element in machine learning and artificial intelligence designs, making it very attractive.

The deal also has implications for Apple as a customer, as it is still developing the new graphics capability and is in dispute with Imagination over the move. A new owner could leave Apple vulnerable and impact on the current application processor developments

Interested buyers have ten working days to register their interest.

The share price rose 15% to 143p on the news, valuing the company at £406.5m (€461m).

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