There have been rumors circulating from Bloomberg, the Japan Times and Reuters regarding the sale of Toshiba’s sensor business to Sony. Apparently, the deal is worth $165 million and part of Toshiba’s large restructuring programme. The image sensors are paramount to Toshiba’s LSI semiconductor business and provides the technology for smartphones and traditional cameras. However, Toshiba’s position in the smartphone market is extremely weak and only used in a couple of handsets; the most luxurious model is the HTC One M9.
In contrast to this, Sony controlled about 40 percent of the $8.7 billion image sensor market last year, compared with about 16 percent for its next biggest competitor, according to Techno System Research. Compared to their other business ventures, the sensor market is extremely promising and a profitable endeavor. As a result, this particular sale makes sense given Sony’s financial success and Toshiba’s fragile position. Additionally, Toshiba needs to try to restore faith in their company given the recent executive profits scandal.
Sony even provides the sensor technology to a large quantity of Chinese handsets, while keeping their flagship technology for the Xperia series. It’s an interesting course of events, as Sony’s mobile sales were quite poor and it looked for some time they could exit this particular market.