If challenging E Ink's supremacy in the e-paper market was hard before, it just became Sisyphean. The company is acquiring e-paper module maker SiPix through a share buyout worth about NT$1.5 billion ($50.1 million) if all goes smoothly. What goals E Ink has with the merger aren't as apparent, although the company wants to go beyond just supplying the parts for another Kindle Touch or Nook Simple Touch -- the aim is to "diversify into newer applications" even as the company corners those markets it already leads. The deal should close in the fall if regulators sign off on the deal, although we wouldn't be too quick to assume clearance is a sure thing. As NPD DisplaySearch warns, the deal would give E Ink complete control of the electrophoretic display technology that dictates the e-paper field. That doesn't allow for a lot of variety in the space when alternatives like Qualcomm's Mirasol are being scaled back.
E INK AGREES TO BUY SIPIX SHARES
Complementary ePaper technology adds to E Ink's portfolio of offerings
Hsinchu, Taiwan - August 3, 2012 – E Ink® Holdings, "E Ink" (8069.TW), the global leader in electronic paper and LCD technologies, today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to buy shares of SiPix Technology, Inc. (STI) and its wholly owned subsidiary SiPix Imaging, Inc. (SII), the maker of electronic paper displays. Established in 1999, SiPix, based in California and Taiwan, makes micro‐cup technology based electrophoretic displays.
The combined company will offer a vast portfolio of ePaper products that will allow it to expand its existing markets and diversify into newer applications. E Ink's ePaper offers the best digital reading experience. It is easier on the eyes, consumes a fraction of the power compared to traditional displays. It is readable in sunlight, lightweight, rugged and field proven with over 50 million ePaper displays being used worldwide.
"E Ink is committed to growing the ePaper market and the purchase of SiPix shares is part of our long term growth strategy," said Scott Liu, Chairman of E Ink Holdings. "Our goal is 'E Ink On Every Smart Surface' and we are continuing to make investments in technologies that will open new markets for our ePaper displays."
"In the recent past, we enabled an entire eReader market with our electronic paper," said Felix Ho, Vice Chairman of E Ink Holdings. "Today, E Ink's products are finding homes in a number of new applications which can be better served with the inclusion of SiPix's products, technologies and intellectual property to our portfolio."
This purchase shows E Ink's strong commitment to electronic paper displays. In the past 15 years, E Ink has made substantial investments in inventing, designing, manufacturing and marketing ePaper displays to create new markets.
E Ink and SiPix's customers will now have a wider portfolio of products and technologies to choose from with a larger global network of offices to support customers in different geographies. With this purchase, E Ink will have the widest offerings of ePaper technologies, a larger set of products and a stronger patent portfolio.
E Ink currently enjoys over 90%+ share in the eReader market with customers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Bookeen, Ectaco, Hanvon, iRiver, Kobo, Sony, Wexler and others. E Ink also makes ePaper displays for Signage, Electronic Shelf Labels, Battery and Memory Indicators, Wrist Watches, Credit Cards, Mobile Phones and a variety of other applications. Its customers include Epson, Pervasive Displays, Motorola, Lexar, Citizen, Seiko, Toppan, Invue, Eton, Motion Display, Neolux and many others.
E Ink has reached an agreement to buy 82.7% of SiPix's (STI) shares and is seeking to buy up to 100%, which is valued at approximately NT$1.5 billion. After customary regulatory approvals, the final closing is likely to be during Q4, 2012.