Beleaguered Apple GPU maker puts itself up for sale

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Imagination
Imagination has developed chips for almost all of Apple's devices.
Photo: Apple

Imagination Technologies, the British company that has been designing Apple’s mobile GPUs for years, has put itself up for sale.

Earlier this year, Imagination confirmed that Apple would be dropping its graphics chips within two years as part of its “insourcing” program to develop its own chips. Since then, Imagination has lost a massive 70 percent of its value.

“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,” the company said in a statement on Thursday. “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.”

Stock jumped 21 percent today following the sale announcement, giving the company a current market cap of £425 million ($538m). Potential buyers reportedly include Intel, Qualcomm, Mediatek, and a variety of companies in China.

Apple could also be interested, having previously hired away around 25 employees from the company — including former Imagination COO John Metcalfe who has been working as a senior director at Apple since last July. A purchase could also give Apple a valuable asset portfolio, since Imagination has previously expressed doubt that Apple would be able to design a brand new GPU architecture from basics without infringing the company’s intellectual property rights.

In recent years, Apple has accounted for around half of Imagination’s sales. Last year, the deal between the two companies earned Imagination £60.7 million ($75.9 million) in revenue, and was expected to bring in £65 million ($81.2 million) for the year ending April 30, 2017.

Source: Reuters