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Apple loses bid for display chip maker Renesas SP Drivers to Synaptics - report

Talks between Apple and Japanese company Renesas over a potential $479 million transaction — one that would have given Apple a controlling interest in the sole supplier of display driver chips for the iPhone — have broken down, a Tuesday report claims.




The lack of progress in negotiations with Apple prompted Renesas to turn its focus to Synaptics, according to Reuters. Synaptics develops a number of interface technologies — most famously controllers for laptop touchpads — and has itself long been an Apple supplier.

Rumors of Apple's interest in Renesas SP Drivers first surfaced last month, at which point it was believed that Apple was looking to acquire 55 percent of the company from Renesas and a further 25 percent from Sharp. Taiwanese semiconductor manufacturer Powerchip is the remaining owner.

Renesas SP Drivers is Apple's only source of LCD chips for the iPhone, components which are important in determining the display's overall clarity and quality. The Cupertino, Calif. company's bid was though to be part of a broader strategy to assert more control over its supply chain.

Apple has made a number of such deals in recent years, most recently a $578 million agreement to jointly operate a new Arizona sapphire plant. The company also owns around 10 percent of GPU designer Imagination Technologies and has invested nearly $1 billion to acquire several semiconductor firms that are thought to have contributed directly to Apple's new in-house processor designs.