Synaptics to Acquire iPhone Display Chipmaker Renesas SP Drivers for $475 Million

Earlier this year, Apple was rumored to be in negotiations with chipmaker Renesas Electronics to acquire its Renesas SP Drivers division, which produces chips for smartphone displays including the iPhone. Talks between the companies reportedly "failed to make progress," with touchpad and touchscreen maker Synaptics entering the picture as the likely acquirer. As noted by Reuters, that deal is now official, with Synaptics paying $475 million for Renesas SP Drivers.

Synaptics previously supplied the scroll wheel for the first iPod, but lost Apple as a customer when the Cupertino company decided to bring its touch technology in house. Synaptics hopes to bring back Apple as a customer now that it will be acquiring Renesas SP Drivers in a deal expected to close later this year.
"Our better opportunities are really complementary technologies to what they do internally. And at this junction I don't believe they do any driver chips internally so that would really be an opportunity for us," Synaptics Inc Chief Executive Rick Bergman said to Reuters.
Synaptics reportedly will use this acquisition to develop a single-chip solution that combines its touch technology with Renesas SP's display technology. This combined chipset is projected to improve display performance and lower component cost for smartphone makers such as Apple and Samsung. Synaptics also manufactures fingerprint sensors and controls 90 percent of the market after it acquired fingerprint ID provider Validity for $255 million last year.