Low power x86 processor maker VIA Technologies today announced that it is selling off the entirety of its stake in S3 Graphics to popular phone manufacturer HTC. Having acquired S3 Graphics in 2001, the company planned to integrate graphics capabilities into its processors and chipsets. In 2005 S3 graphics became under capitalized and VIA brought in WTI a private investment company to fun operations and R&D initiatives. Cher Wang, the chairman of VIA is a “significant shareholder.”
Under the agreement, all of VIA’s shares in S3 Graphics are worth $300 million. VIA will receive $147 million while WTI will receive $153 million. Of the $147 million, VIA will recognize a capital gain of $37 million and a paid-in-capital of $115 million.
The Senior Vice President and Board Director of VIA, Tzu-mu Lin, stated that “The Transaction would allow VIA to monetize a portion of its rich IP portfolio, yet retain its graphics capabilities to support the development and sale of its processors and chipsets.” The transaction is subject to approvals from the board directors of VIA, WTI, and HTC and is expected to close before the end of the year.
HTC seems to be interested in acquiring graphics IP, which begs the question whether the phone manufacturer is planning to design its own ARM S3 graphics chips for its future phones. What do you think of the deal?