PVI Buys Display Maker E Ink for $215 Million

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Taiwanese display maker Prime View International (PVI) has announced a definitive agreement to acquire Kindle and Sony Reader display maker E Ink for about $215 million. E Ink makes displays that have a look similar to printed paper and, while slow, they are readable in direct sunlight, and thus ideal for devices like the Amazon Kindle and the Sony Reader. Once the acquisition is complete, PVI plans to continue developing E Ink’s display technology, including the development of color and flexible displays based on E Ink’s technology.

“The world is searching for green technology that saves energy and cuts waste and still provides an outstanding experience,” said PVI Chairman and CEO Scott Liu, in a statement. “E Ink’s electronic paper meets those needs, especially in electronic publishing and mobile displays. The people in both companies will unite to provide the world’s best digital reading experience and that will benefit all our customers and end users.”

PVI has been partnered with E Ink for some time; E Ink manufacturers the top layer of the E Ink displays and ships them to Prime View, which adds a lower layer similar to TFT systems used in LCD panels. The technology is currently being used by almost 20 ebook manufacturers worldwide, as well as signage, smartcards, cell phones, storage devices, and battery indicators.

E Ink is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts—it spun out of MIT—and expects to keep its facilities there, although the combined company’s headquarters will be in Taiwan. The company expects the worldwide market for E Ink displays to grow to over $3 billion by 2013.