iPhone manufacturer Apple has snapped 2.2 million shares in Imagination Technologies, the company that manufactures the iPhone's graphic subsystem and produces PURE products as well.
The transaction, worth £3.14 million, allows Apple to own 9.5 percent of the company and values it at roughly £240 million. Back in December 2008, Apple purchased a 3.6 percent stake which was worth £3.2 million and pushed the company's market capitalisation to £116 million.
Apple uses Imagination Technologies's PowerVR technology for the graphic subsystem on its iPhone and iPod Touch because of their superior power/efficiency ratio. Intel also licenses Imagination's graphics and video intellectual property portfolio, mostly for its mobile architecture, notably in its "Centrino Atom" processor technology.
The move comes a few days after Intel upped its stakes in the company. The semiconductor giant now has 32 million shares worth £30 million, accounting for 16 percent of Imagination Technologies. The move by both companies is very unlikely to trigger a full blown acquisition attempt from either parties.
A bidding war would only benefit the shareholders and could start a feud between Intel and one of its most important clients, Apple. Instead, both companies appear to be trying to secure their long terms relationships with Imagination Technologies by keeping away other potential shareholders.
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Graphics is going to be at the forefront of the next battleground in the mobile sector. Incidentally, while PowerVR was decimated by Ati and Nvidia on the desktop, the technology which one competed with mighty 3DFX, could make a significant comeback. Interestingly, Nvidia could one day pursue tile-based rendering which is PowerVR's core differentiation.
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