LONDON It would be easy to assume that the recently increased stakes in publicly-held graphics IP licensor Imagination Technologies Group plc (Kings Langley, England) by Intel and Apple are the start of a battle for control for must-have graphics intellectual property.
However, life tends to be a bit more complicated than that, and it can be seen that for now the purchases started off more by way of bail-outs and protection for the company, than as investments on a path to acquisition.
However, the latest round of share buying, made this week by Apple and last week by Intel does mark a turning point.
Parts of the total Apple and Intel investment have been based on subscription to additionally printed shares which diluted other holders. It should be noted that Intel's most recent investment was not dilutionary and only part of Apple's most recent investment was in newly-printed share certificates.
Back in December the investments could be seen as a reaction to the weak share price which Imagination found itself landed with, following a general collapse in technology stock values after September 2008.
Apple and Intel were already committed to using Imagination's graphics cores, Apple in the iPhone and Intel inside its Atom Z processor and the low share price could have seen a rival acquire a controlling interest in Imagination and putting a spanner in the Apple and Intel work plans.
In December 2008 Apple was able to pick up 8.2 million newly-printed share certificates at just 39 pence each thereby taking a 3.6 percent stake in the company for just $5 million. And Intel followed shortly taking its holding to a similar 3 percent.