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.