Apple was the biggest customer of Imagination Technologies until they got into a spat which ruined their relationship. The party to suffer the most was obviously the British company, which lost 70% of its value since the dispute. But that’s not all, as the British company has now decided to auction itself.
Imagination Technologies: many interested in acquiring us
In April, Imagination Technologies informed investors that Apple intends to develop and use its own graphic chips rather than buying its chips. It was a big loss for Imagination Technologies, as the U.S. firm accounted for about 50% of its revenue.
“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 board of Imagination has therefore decided to initiate a formal sale process for the group and is engaged in preliminary discussions with potential bidders,” the British company said in a statement on Thursday.
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Further, the company informed investors that Rothschild & Co. is advising it on the sale process, and preliminary talks with the potential bidders are underway. The company said that it has also received indicative proposals in the sale process for its MIPS and Ensigma units, which it started in May.
As of now, there is no information on who those potential parties could be. But Janardan Menon, an analyst at London-based Liberum Capital Ltd., believes that some Chinese companies and also MediaTek, Intel and Ceva might be interested in the British chip maker. It must be noted that Apple holds an 8.1% stake in Imagination Technologies and even considered buying the chip maker last year.
Dispute with Apple continues
Until now, Apple depended on Imagination Technologies for the supply of GPUs for its products such as iPods, iPhones, iPads and watches. But now, it intends to move GPU production in-house. Previously, Imagination Technologies said that Apple’s effort to move GPU production in-house will definitely result in a violation of patents, confidentiality and intellectual property.
Last month, the company also informed investors that it was working on a dispute resolution procedure with Apple over the licensing payments. On Thursday, the company reiterated this, adding that it “remains in dispute with Apple.”
When you are a company as big and popular as Apple, disputes are pretty common. Apple is also involved in a legal dispute with Qualcomm over issues related to royalty payments, and just last month, the iPhone maker settled a long-running patent dispute with Nokia.
Meanwhile, Imagination Technologies’ stock jumped Thursday after the news that the board has decided to begin a formal sale process. At the U.K. market’s open, Imagination Technologies’ shares went up by 21%, the biggest intra-day increase since December. However, the shares are still down by about 50% from the level they were at when he British company first announced Apple’s decision to ditch it.
Apple shares were up 0.59% yesterday. Year to date, the stock is up almost 26%, while in the last three months, it is up more than 4%.