The fate of Imagination Technologies has become something of a saga in recent months. The prolific IP vendor, Apple’s right-hand supplier for GPU designs and IP over the last decade, found itself on the rocks in April, when Apple announced they would be transitioning away from using Imagination’s IP and designs. Then in May, the company announced that they would be doubling-down on the GPU business – their strongest business – by selling off their remaining Ensigma communications and MIPS CPU businesses. Now this morning, the company has announced that they have decided to instead focus on going another route, and will be putting the entire company up for sale.

While the company as a whole was not formally up for sale until today, as you’d expect for a company in difficult circumstances like Imagination, that option has unofficially been on the table since the start. To that end, Imagination has reported that a number of parties have expressed an interest in buying the entire company. As noted in Imagination’s press release:

Imagination Technologies Group plc (LSE: IMG, “Imagination”, “the Group”) announces that over the last few weeks it has received interest from a number of parties for a potential acquisition of the whole Group. The Board of Imagination has therefore decided to initiate a formal sale process for the Group and is engaged in preliminary discussions with potential bidders.

At this time Imagination is not naming any suitors – and indeed is warning that a sale may not go through at all – though at this stage it’s difficult to imagine someone not taking advantage of the situation. Imagination’s PowerVR GPU IP alone is valuable to virtually all of the major SoC vendors, not to mention IP powerhouses and former customers such as Qualcomm, Intel, Samsung, and of course, Apple.

Meanwhile the MIPS and Ensigma business have yet to be sold, and a buyer could opt to pick those businesses up too. Otherwise, for the time being, Imagination is continuing their efforts to sell of those businesses, and they have already received proposals for both.

As for a potential price for the company, assuming Imagination were purchased wholesale, after today’s announcement the company’s market cap has jumped to £400M (~$500M USD). At about half of the company’s 52-week high, this would be significantly cheaper than had anyone attempted to purchase the company before the Apple split. The final price tag then would be somewhat higher, as a sale would almost certainly come with a premium over the company’s current stock price.

Finally, while the company looks for potential buyers, they are also continuing their dispute with Apple. At last report, the companies were still going through their contractual dispute resolution process. It’s not clear whether this process would be completed before Imagination finds a buyer.

Source: Imagination Technologies

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  • Archie2085 - Thursday, June 22, 2017 - link

    I would guess it would be a good fit for AMD considering the past when past CEO sold off the mobile arm which became snapdragon.

    Could be a good time for AMD to jump back into the market considering its more stronger now
    Reply
  • Wolfpup - Thursday, June 22, 2017 - link

    Maybe if AMD needs their patents for anything, but of course they've already got great tech for what they do, and wouldn't be able to do much better/different in the ultra-mobile space where Apple does it's own thing, and everyone else is stuck using whatever garbage Qualcom forces on them. Reply
  • silverblue - Friday, June 23, 2017 - link

    Well, apparently Vega has some sort of tile-based immediate rendering (not to be confused with tile-based deferred rendering, but you know that ImgTec's solution will be more advanced.

    It's a shame that ImgTec never sought to return to the PC space; a card with TBDR and similar raw specs to a GTX 1070 would be monstrous. If anything, it'd show how effective TBIM actually is.
    Reply
  • Yojimbo - Thursday, June 22, 2017 - link

    The current stock price of 144 isn't much lower than the historical average over the past 3 years, which looks like it is a little over 200. On January 15, 2016 it closed at 110. Now its largest potential buyer is known to not be buying it. The jump in the price from this announcement doesn't seem to make sense. It's speculation that I think probably won't pan out. Reply
  • SunnyNW - Thursday, June 22, 2017 - link

    What is the difference between the company having been taken over say a month ago versus after formally being put up for sale? Reply
  • Bullwinkle J Moose - Thursday, June 22, 2017 - link

    "What is the difference between the company having been taken over say a month ago versus after formally being put up for sale?"
    --------------------------------------------
    That was then and this is now!

    I'm kidding of course, time is just a man made concept and was never a real thing

    But seriously, the difference is that the sale is REAL and a takeover last month is just your "Imagination"
    Reply
  • webdoctors - Thursday, June 22, 2017 - link

    Its gonna be a buyer's market, definitely no bidding war. Patents aren't worth as much as they used to be, and the individual folks are much cheaper to hire individually.

    If I was holding onto their stock I'd sell ASAP.
    Reply
  • id4andrei - Thursday, June 22, 2017 - link

    This painting perfectly describes the Apple and supplier relationship.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturn_Devouring_His...

    Seriously, Apple bled Imagination dry. It's not like some fanboys here claim that IM has focused only on one customer. Apple has poached it and reverse engineered it into the ground. I wish Qualcomm luck so as not to buckle like Nokia and Ericsson.
    Reply
  • name99 - Thursday, June 22, 2017 - link

    Really? And how are you so aware of Apple's relationship with Imagination? Since you know all the details, please give us some details into exactly what happened when Apple tried to buy IMG a few months ago and why IMG refused to sell.

    You appear to be remarkable knowledgeable about Apple's HR practices. So how many engineers has Apple "poached"? Now, the last time I checked human beings [even engineers] were not slaves and had the right to work for whoever offered them a better deal... So would you also consider it "poaching" when Chris Lattner left Apple for Tesla? Likewise Bozoma St John leaving for Uber?

    Likewise you seem remarkably knowledgeable about Apple's forthcoming GPU ("reverse engineered it into the ground"). I'm sure you wouldn't be insulted if I ask that you provide just a few tech details about this Apple GPU (surely you know them, since you know it was reverse-engineered for IMG IP) --- we're all very curious about this next product.
    Reply
  • Tangey - Friday, June 23, 2017 - link

    "IMG refused to sell"

    Do you have any idea how listed companies work ?

    If Apple wanted to buy them, they just buy the shares. IMG would have zero say in it.

    IMG could not refuse as the process is not within their control
    Reply

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