Toshiba has sold its factory producing camera imaging sensors to Sony for a an undisclosed amount, which could total $166 million, according to an inside source speaking to Reuters. The news comes after rumors spread of the purchase earlier in October. The companies have both released statements confirming the acquisition.
The factory is located in the Oita Prefecture in Japan, and Sony will take over the operational management of the site, upon conclusion of the deal. The intention is for the site to fall under the control of Sony’s newly formed Semiconductor Corporation, and to primarily be used for producing CMOS imaging sensors for cameras.
Sony is already the market leading company when it comes to producing this type of sensor, and they’re used across both traditional camera and smartphone camera lines. Sony also supplies sensors to many other manufacturers, including Apple, and a variety of big-name Chinese brands from Xiaomi to Vivo, plus to Nikon for its DSLR cameras.
Reuters states Sony controls 40-percent of the CMOS market prior to the Toshiba deal, way ahead of Techno System Research, which is in second place with 16-percent. In its own press release, Sony says the new factory will help “increase its production capabilities in the area of CMOS image sensors, where further market growth is anticipated.” Sony has an excellent reputation for its sensors, hence why other manufacturers make a point of mentioning the presence of one inside a new phone.
Toshiba will no longer produce CMOS sensors at all, and instead will concentrate efforts on areas in which it has “a high technological advantage,” and to build profitability in its integrated circuit business. Around 1,100 of the 2,600 staff employed by Toshiba at the plant are expected to transfer over to Sony, and the rest may shift to another Toshiba factory in another prefecture, that produces flash memory chips.
Toshiba was hit by an accounting scandal earlier this year, and has since sold off several areas of its business, and seen its president and various executives resign from key posts.