The Japanese semiconductor maker Renesas Electronics Corp. plans to sell its majority stake in Renesas SP Drivers, its LCD chip joint venture with Sharp Corp. and Powerchip Group, to the mobile device chip provider Synaptics Inc., Reuters reports.
According to the report, Apple was a potential buyer of Renesas' 55% share of the venture, which is the smartphone maker's only source of LCD chips for the iPhone. However, discussions apparently didn't make headway, prompting Renesas to make a deal with Synaptics.
The companies would not confirm the report.
"Synaptics is passionate about developing human interface technology that changes the way people interact with PCs, mobile devices and next-generation consumer devices," Synaptics told EE Times in an email. "We are committed to driving advances and innovations that enhance the human interface experience. Recent media reports regarding Renesas Electronics Corp. were not based on a Synaptics' announcement and we will not comment on any speculation at this time."
Renesas SP Drivers, formed in April 2008, develops LCD drivers and controllers for small and midsized LCD panels. It currently has approximately 240 employees and 5 billion yen ($49 million) in capital, according to its website. Sharp Corp. holds 25% of the company, while Taiwan's Powerchip has a 20% stake.
Renesas has been getting rid of nonstrategic assets to focus its business on the industrial and automotive sectors with its embedded solutions. A year ago, the struggling Japanese chip maker discontinued the wireless modem operations it bought from Nokia Corp. In September 2013, it sold its LTE-related assets to Broadcom Corp. for $164 million in cash.
-- Ismini Scouras is a freelance writer for EE Times.