HTC is to buy GPU specialists S3 Graphics, in a deal which will see the smartphone company take all existing shares held by VIA – which bought S3 back in 2001 – and investor WTI, which part-funded the company in 2005. The deal, worth $300m, will see VIA take away $147m and HTC grab the company’s low-power, HD-capable graphics expertise along with a patent portfolio that Apple has already fallen foul of.
Although S3 Graphics still produces its own range of desktop video cards, the company is perhaps best known for its GPUs found on VIA’s range of compact mainboards. These – targeted at embedded systems, HTPCs, small-form-factor desktops and other implementations where small dimensions are as important as media performance – have recently been joined by games consoles and smartphones in using S3 chipsets.
“The transaction would allow VIA to monetize a portion of its rich IP portfolio,” Tzu-mu Lin, Senior Vice President and Board Director of VIA said, “yet retain its graphics capabilities to support the development and sale of its processors and chipsets.” HTC’s intentions with S3 Graphics are unknown, though the chips could obviously find a place in the company’s smartphone and tablet ranges, and previous rumors have suggested the firm is considering branching out into home electronics.
S3 Graphics made headlines earlier this week, after the US ITC judged that Apple had infringed on two of its patents.