Apple in Talks to Acquire Japanese Chipmaker Renesas SP Drivers

In an effort to boost the battery life and image sharpness of its devices, Apple could acquire Japan’s Renesas Electronics, reports Japanese business newspaper Nikkei.

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Renesas SP Drivers is a Renesas joint venture with Sharp and Taiwan-based Powerchip. The unit, which has been successful in manufacturing drivers and controllers for small and midsized LCDs, has a market share of about 33%, according to Nikkei. The catch is, these chips Renesas SP manufactures determine the display’s quality and performance and influence the phone’s battery life, as they account for roughly 10% of usage, they say.

Apple is interested in acquiring Renesas’ entire 55% stake in the company for a rumoured 50 billion yen, or $479 million.

While Apple generally relies on multiple suppliers for each component, it gets all of its iPhone liquid crystal display chips from Renesas SP. With image quality becoming a crucial selling point for smartphones, Apple apparently wants to meld the design of core display components into overall product development.

Sharp and Powerchip have 25% and 20% of the company’s shares, respectively. If the deal goes through, Sharp is said to be willing to sell its shares in Renesas SP to Apple if the latter demands such an action.

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