June 1, 2009

Kindle Display Maker Purchased For $215 Million

E Ink Corp. said on Monday that it has agreed to be acquired by a Taiwanese company for $215 million.

Prime View International is the buyer, which has been E Ink's partner in making "electronic ink" displays for Amazon.com and Sony Corp.  E Ink is famous for the innovative display for the Amazon Kindle e-book reader.

E Ink's vice president of marketing, Sriram Peruvemba, said the deal would help the companies develop a color version of its displays and mass-produce them by the end of 2010.  Currently, models only show shades of gray. 

E Ink is expected to display the latest color display prototypes on Tuesday at a technology show in San Antonio, Texas.

The displays that are used in the e-book readers look similar to regular paper and consume very little power.  But, they make navigation slow by taking a long time to switch between images.

E Ink makes the top layer of the electronic ink displays, and then ships them to Prime View to add a bottom layer that is similar to those used in LCD panels.  Prime View bought the electronic ink technology they use from Royal Philips Electronics NV in 2005.

E Ink said that it has made over $150 million from investors, including Intel Corp., Motorola Corp. and Hearts Corp.  The first quarter revenue from E Ink was $18 million.  It has not revealed whether it has made profit.

According to Peruvemba E Ink expects to keep its offices and factory in Massachusetts while continuing to hire.  However, the headquarters of the combined company will be in Taiwan.


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