Sony Corporation has purchased the Israeli chip manufacturing company Altair for $212 million or 25 billion Yen. The Israeli company that was almost recently purchased by the Chinese conglomerate Infotmic has settled on a much more lucrative deal with the Japanese mega corporation.
Sony has stated that they will continue to manufacture and develop existing products, and that it will not only add its own products to be manufactured by the company in Israel, but it will work together with the new Israeli addition to develop new ones.
Altair was one of the world leaders in creating 4G technology for smartphones. The company currently employs 190 engineers and software developers at their Israeli headquarters. Altair works with several communications protocols such as LTE, XG-PHS and WiMAX, and the company boasts high level customers including Verizon Wireless in the U.S. It is also notable that Altair recently opened a development center in Taiwan.
Among the investors in the company are local venture capital funds such as Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) and Jerusalem Global Ventures, as well as international brand name companies which include SanDisk Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, BRM Capital, ETV Capital SA, Giza Venture Capital, and Pacific Technology Partners.
The purchase of the Israeli company, which is over a decade old, will allow Sony to get a foothold in the prestigious Israeli startup market. It will also allow Sony to become a world leader in the IoT (Internet of Things) field, in which various objects such as devices and vehicles are connected via sensors and networks.
Sources at Sony said regarding the acquisition that "the Internet of Things is becoming the next trend. While Altair is one of the smaller players in the game when compared to Intel and Qualcom, it is one of the more important ones.”
Regarding the quality of Altair’s product, Sony said that the “chips require less power and less data and also cost less than other chips. They will be refitted with Sony’s upgraded GPS systems.”
Unlike many Chinese companies who have purchased Israeli companies in the last couple of years, Japanese companies have been relatively slow to purchase Israeli startups and get involved in the world’s most dynamic startup market, with the possible exception of silicon valley. Other Japanese companies that have have purchased Israeli startups include Rakuten’s acquisition of Viber and the founding of the Israeli-Japanese incubator Samurai, according to Geektime Website.