Sony is expected to further strengthen its CMOS image sensor business by acquiring Toshiba's image sensor operations, in a deal estimated at around 20 billion yen ($163 million).
Nikkei reports that the negotiations on the sale have reached an advanced stage. Toshiba is looking to divest its newest production facility in Oita, which can handle 300mm wafers, according to the report. Its products includes CMOS sensors. Besides production equipment, Sony would take over some employees as well as customer accounts, which include automakers and camera manufacturers.
Sony would gain an even firmer position as global leader in image sensors used in smartphones and other camera-equipped electronics. The company announced plans early this year to increase monthly output by about 30% by September 2016. It is readying for an anticipated surge in demand for image sensors as two-camera phones catch on.
Toshiba is trying to restructure after the recent accounting scandal. Following the possible exit from the Cimage sensor business, the company would concentrate its semiconductor investment on its more competitive memory business. It plans to begin mass-producing expanded-capacity NAND flash memory in Yokkaichi, near Nagoya, in the first quarter of 2016.