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Apple To Dump Longtime Partner, Joins Bidding War For Toshiba’s Chips

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Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) plans to drop its partnership with the UK’s Imagination Technologies (LON: IMG), having long deployed Imagination’s chipmaking technology and intellectual property as the basis for the graphics processor units in some of its signature devices—including the iPhone. Apple has backed Imagination since 2008 but now plans to build a separate, independent design to drive the graphics processing power in its products; it will phase out its reliance on Imagination’s technology over the next 15 to 24 months.


One immediate result: A massive sell-off of Imagination’s stock, with shares in the company falling 62% on Monday. Another may well be lawsuits to follow. Imagination said in a statement that it has yet to see evidence from Apple that it can build a new GPU architecture “without violating Imagination’s patents, intellectual property and confidential information.”

Vying for Toshiba

Although Apple has historically been a builder, not a buyer, of new tools, it has reportedly joined the bidding war for Toshiba’s NAND flash memory unit at a moment of apparent necessity. The company has plenty of cash to spend—should it come to that—but it’s rarely put down more than a few hundred million for a target, much less the $18 billion offered by Silver Lake and Broadcom are said to have offered. The notable exception: Apple’s 2014 acquisition of Beats for $3 billion.

But whether the tech giant’s been a “buyer” or not, it’s hardly a stranger to dealmaking having completed 60 M&A deals since 2010, according to the PitchBook Platform. And it’s followed a fairly clear thesis, picking up software companies in 57% of all deals. Hardware deals have accounted for just 3% of Apple’s acquisitions since 2010.

A successful play for Toshiba would be rare for another reason: Just 2% of Apple’s completed acquisitions since 2010 have been in Asia. That compares to 63% for the US and another 25% for Europe.

PitchBook Platform users can view the full data on Apple’s acquisitions here.

Article by Adam Putz, PitchBook

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