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Apple camera supplier Sony picks up Toshiba's image sensor business for $155M

Sony on Friday confirmed the takeover of Toshiba's image sensor business, in a deal that could potentially reinforce its position as a supplier for cameras in Apple devices.




The agreement is worth 19 billion yen, or about $155 million, Sony said in a press statement. Toshiba will transfer the assets of its 300-millimeter wafer production line —mainly based in Oita City, Japan —to Sony by March 31, pending regulatory approval.

The facility should then produce CMOS sensors for Sony, which has offered to take on about 1,100 workers as part of the transfer.

Sony Semiconductor manufactures sensors for use in a number of devices, including not just its own products but third parties like Nikon. One of its most important customers is Apple, which uses the sensors in devices like the iPhone 6s. Absorbing Toshiba's manufacturing capacity may help Sony secure further orders from Apple, since it can continue to meet the intense demand involved.

For Toshiba, the selloff is needed to cope with the aftermath of an accounting scandal in which it overstated profits. It's in fact abandoning several businesses to shore up its finances, and reports have hinted that it might offer up a stake in its memory division, and/or merge with Fujitsu and Vaio.