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Synaptics announces acquisition of Japan's Renesas SP Drivers

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Synaptics, a global leader in human interface solutions, yesterday hosted a press event in Taipei, announcing the company's acquisition of Japan-based Renesas SP Drivers Inc., while outlining plans to expand operations and bolster relations with partners in the Asia markets by offering a comprehensive product portfolio.

The company acquired Renasas SP Drivers, a Japanese company specializing in producing chips that manage LCD displays, at a cost of about US$475 million. Through the acquisition, the company hopes to accelerate developments toward offering clients cross-platform solutions that integrate touch display drivers (TDDI) and display driver ICs (DDIC), said Bret Sewell, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Synaptics.

Based in Silicon Valley, Synaptics is best known for pioneering the touchpad pointing device in 1995, a feature found on most laptop computers, while Renasas SP is reportedly the sole supplier of display drivers for Apple's iPhone handsets. Reports indicate that Synaptics may be vying to garner orders from Apple through the acquisition of the U.S.-based company's supplier. In addition to international partners such as LG Display, Sharp, Japan Display Inc. and Samsung Display, the company's Taiwan-based partners include a number of laptop computer makers, as well as display makers AUO (友達), and Innolux (群創).

Meanwhile, reports indicate that Synaptic's Taiwan-based competitor FocalTech (F-敦泰) on Wednesday evening commended the union between Synaptics and Renesas SP. According to FocalTech, the deal is inline with a wave of consolidation in the sector similar to its recent acquisition of Orise Technology Co. (旭曜). Most notably, FocalTech stated that as Synaptics is a major supplier of Apple and Samsung, the world's two largest mobile phone makers, the company is poised to benefit from expected residual order volumes by the two giants. FocalTech shares yesterday lost NT$1 or 0.41 percent to close at NT$240.

In addition, Taiwanese semiconductor company Powerchip (力晶) is poised to receive a windfall from the liquidation of a 20-percent stake in Renesas SP following its acquisition by Synaptics. Powerchip stated at a press conference yesterday afternoon that recent developments are not expected to affect ongoing partnership with Renesas SP and that the company is also anticipating more volume orders from Apple.

Foreign institutional investors stated that Synaptics is not expected to initiate sweeping changes to its supply chain following the acquisition and that impacts to Taiwanese suppliers will be limited.

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