Synaptics Acquires iPhone Display Chipmaker, Could Become Apple Supplier Again

After reports of Apple losing out to California-based Synaptics to acquire Japan’s Renesas SP Drivers, the deal has become official today, reports Reuters. The deal signals a possible opportunity for Synaptics to again become a supplier for Apple:

Touchscreen chipmaker Synaptics Inc said it would buy the sole supplier of display chips for the iPhone for $475 million, potentially winning back Apple Inc as a customer.

The deal would mean Synaptics could implement its touch technology alongside Renesas’ display drivers on a single chip, resulting in cheaper manufacturing costs, according to Feltl & Co analyst Jeffrey Schreiner:

“There is no one else that can do touch display driver integration right now. There is no other competitor.”

Rick Bergman, President and CEO, Synaptics, said in a statement “The acquisition of Renesas SP Drivers unites complementary and best-in-class technologies and brings on board a very experienced, highly skilled engineering team, strengthening Synaptics’ position as the number one touchscreen controller supplier to the mobile display market, with unmatched platform level technologies.”

Rumours emerged in April Apple was in talks to acquire Renesas SP Drivers, a move seen to gain further control over its device displays and supply chain.

Renesas SP Drivers is an exclusive supplier of display chips for Apple’s iPhone. As Synaptics now owns the display chipmaker, it looks to again add Apple as a customer. Back in 2007, Synaptics supplied its touchpad technology to Apple for use in its iPod Classic and third generation iPod nano.