Sony said Friday it had agreed to purchase from Toshiba the factory that makes the core processor for its PlayStation 3 game console.
Toshiba Corp., which paid 90 billion yen ($1.1 billion) for the facilities in a deal first announced in 2007, aims to transfer them back to Sony Corp. after March of next year, the firms said in statements.
The companies jointly developed the powerful “Cell” processor with IBM Corp., and it was hoped the chip would run a new generation of brainy electronic appliances, but its main use remains Sony’s PlayStation. Toshiba uses a version of the chip in some of its TVs and personal computers.
The factory also makes chips used in cameras and high-end graphics applications.
“This is part of our company’s shift to outsource production of high-end chips to other companies,” said Toshiba spokesman Hiroki Yamazaki.
Yamazaki said the company was also considering outsourcing production of such chips to Samsung Electronics Co. of South Korea and other companies.
Sony and Toshiba said they have agreed to work to finalize a deal by the end of the current fiscal year in March and complete the transfer shortly after.
Neither disclosed Sony’s purchase price. Japan’s main financial newspaper, the Nikkei, reported it would be around 50 billion yen ($610 million).
Currently the operations are run by a joint venture between Sony and Toshiba, but that will be disbanded after the purchase, the companies said.
The Cell chip combines nine separate processors in one chip, for detailed graphics and advanced computations. It has been used to power supercomputers and other high-end applications.
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