PVI buys E Ink

Taiwanese Prime View International is to acquire Cambridge, Massachusetts-based E Ink for approximately $215m.


Taiwanese Prime View International (PVI) is to acquire Cambridge, Massachusetts-based E Ink for approximately $215m (£131m) as part of a move to focus on electronic paper displays.


In 2005, PVI acquired the e-paper business of Philips Electronics and joined forces with E Ink to provide displays for electronic books including the popular Sony Reader and the Amazon Kindle 2 and Kindle DX.


PVI has also invested in dedicated driver chips and touch screens for e-paper, as well as flexible displays, which will be marketed later this year.


In 2008, PVI bought a 74 per cent stake of Hydis Technologies of Korea, quadrupling capacity for the transistor backplanes used in e-paper.


E Ink and PVI currently support nearly 20 e-book manufacturers worldwide. In addition to electronic books, E Ink’s Vizplex imaging film is used in mobile phones, signage, smart cards, memory devices and battery indicators.


E Ink sales were $18m in the first quarter of 2009, up 157 per cent over the same quarter in 2008.


PVI will finance the acquisition with an equity placement and a convertible bond offering led by Taiwanese securities firm KGI.


The transaction is subject to shareholder and customary regulatory approval and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2009.


E Ink Corporation will remain based in Cambridge and plans to expand its employee base from 127 to 150 people during 2009.