Apple might be in HTC's cross hairs

The GPU will become increasingly important as mobile phone firms seek to squeeze more and more performance out of smartphones for gaming and streaming of video. VIA has announced today that it has sold its stake in S3 Graphics to HTC. HTC is well known in the Android smartphone and tablet realm.

VIA, WTI, and HTC have signed an agreement that will see all shares in S3 go to HTC. VIA acquired S3 in 2001. The terms of the agreement show HTC will pay $300 million for all of the outstanding shares of S3 Graphics. VIA will receive $147 million of that amount and VIA's current partner WTI Investment International will receive $153 million.

The capital gain for VIA will be $37 million with $115 million paid-in capital for the transaction. The proposed transaction has been approved by the boards of VIA, WTI, and HTC. WTI became a partner with VIA in S3 in 2005 when S3 Graphics became undercapitalized.

We can assume that HTC wants the mobile graphics company to improve on the graphics processing in its smartphones and to be able to design and build its own graphics processors for its products.

“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,” said Tzu-mu Lin, Senior Vice President and Board Director of VIA. “We wish to thank WTI for its capital contribution to support S3 Graphics since 2005.”

Perhaps more interesting about the deal is the fact that Apple was recently found to infringe on two patents held by S3 Graphics. This will put HTC in the position to possible force a large settlement out of Apple or a patent agreement. Apple's iPhone is the largest competitor to Android smartphones that HTC produces.

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