Sony looks to buy back Toshiba fab

December 23, 2010 | 11:13

Tags: #cmos #fab #nikkei

Companies: #sony #toshiba

Sony is apparently experiencing seller's remorse after offloading its Nagasaki-based chip fabrication plant to Toshiba back in 2008, and is hoping it can convince Toshiba to sell it back - at a discount, naturally.

The plant, which produces components for Sony's PlayStation 3 console, Toshiba TVs and CMOS sensors for cameras from a range of manufacturers, was sold to Toshiba in 2008 for ¥90 billion (around £702 million). However, Toshiba is now reported to be struggling to justify ownership of the fab and is looking to sell it.

Sony, on the other hand, appears to be predicting a massive rise in demand for CMOS digital camera sensors. Japanese newspaper The Nikkei Daily claims that the company is hoping to buy back the fab in order to double its output of the chips to an estimated 40,000 units per month.

Sony states that the details quoted in The Nikkei Daily don't represent an official statement from the company, but it's thought that Sony is hoping to snap up a bargain from Toshiba, offering just ¥50 billion (around £390 million) for the fab. This means that Toshiba would be making a significant loss on the deal for a plant it's owned for just two years.

The deal certainly makes sense for Sony, which would get its plant back and keep ¥40 billion of Toshiba's money. However, it's hard to see why Toshiba would be willing to take such a hit on the deal. Although Toshiba is reportedly struggling to find reasons to keep the fab, Sony's desire to upgrade its CMOS sensor output, which it can use for both its own-brand cameras and Sony Ericsson smartphones, means that Toshiba can almost certainly hold out for a better offer.

Do you think that Sony has executed a shrewd move with the Nagasaki plant deal, or will Toshiba hold out for a better offer before it returns the fab to its original owner? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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