Trouble-struck British chip designer Imagination Technologies has confirmed it is for sale amid an ongoing dispute with Apple that has crushed its valuation on the London Stock Exchange, reads a new report from Reuters.
The British firm that supplied the designs for Apple’s graphics chips announced that it is up for sale less than three months after Apple said it would no longer use those designs and would instead come up with its own. That announcement was made public by the firm, Imagination Technologies, on April 3.
Imagination’s stock crashed nearly 70% on the day the news hit, and the stock has traded roughly in that range ever since.
“[Imagination Technologies] announces that over the last few weeks it has received interest from a number of parties for a potential acquisition of the whole Group,” reads a press release from the company. “The Board of Imagination has therefore decided to initiate a formal sale process for the Group and is engaged in preliminary discussions with potential bidders.”
At this time Imagination is not naming any suitors – and indeed is warning that a sale may not go through at all – though at this stage it’s difficult to imagine someone not taking advantage of the situation. Imagination’s PowerVR GPU IP alone is valuable to virtually all of the major SoC vendors, not to mention IP powerhouses and former customers such as Qualcomm, Intel, Samsung, and of course, Apple.
Apple’s decision to switch from Imagination’s chip technology to its own independent design for future devices started a dispute between the two tech companies. Imagination requested evidence from the Cupertino company that Apple‘s new designs did not infringe Imagination’s patents or intellectual property, but Apple has declined to provide this evidence.
Imagination expressed doubts that the US company would be able to create separate and original designs despite its long-term dependency on the UK firm’s chip technology.
“Imagination believes that it would be extremely challenging to design a brand new GPU architecture from basics without infringing its intellectual property rights,” the UK tech firm said in April. The dispute remains unsettled, and potential alternative arrangements for the current contract are being discussed.