Friday, March 2, 2012

Tessera to acquire camera module manufacturing assets to accelerate market introduction of next-gen technologies

SAN JOSE, USA: Tessera Technologies Inc. announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, DigitalOptics Corp., has agreed to acquire certain assets of Vista Point Technologies, a Tier One qualified camera module manufacturing business, from Flextronics International Ltd.

DOC will pay approximately $23 million in cash, subject to certain adjustments and costs at closing, for certain assets of Flextronics’s camera module business located in Zhuhai, China, along with the equity interests of a wholly-owned foreign enterprise that will own those assets (together, the “Zhuhai Camera Module Business”). The transaction, which is expected to close in the third quarter, if not sooner, includes existing customer contracts and a lease to an approximately 135,000-square-foot facility. DOC anticipates that the business will have a capacity to manufacture approximately 50 million camera module units per year.

“The Zhuhai Camera Module Business will allow us to drive rapid market introduction of DOC’s next-generation technology in a manner that complements our existing collaborations with camera module makers. We believe our approach is the best way to address the requirements of Tier One OEM manufacturers, which require that camera modules be delivered through dual sourcing from high-volume manufacturing facilities,” said Robert A. Young, president and CEO, Tessera Technologies.

“This transaction is a critical step in our strategy of transforming DOC from an optical and image enhancement software and components business into a Tier One qualified, vertically integrated supplier of next-generation camera modules to the $9-billion market for mobile cameras,” Young continued.

“In parallel, we continue to have active discussions with multiple Tier One OEM manufacturers of mobile phones regarding our MEMS autofocus product, and remain on track to obtain a design win in the first half of 2012 and to begin high-volume manufacturing in the fourth quarter of 2012,” said Young. “We believe our disruptive MEMS autofocus technology will offer a uniquely competitive replacement for the magnetic voice coils in use today, while enabling cameras that are thinner, faster, have more accurate lens positioning and use far less battery power. Our goal is for DOC to become profitable in 2013.”

“These assets will enable DigitalOptics Corporation to significantly increase sales of the imaging technologies we’ve acquired and developed over the past five years. Our strategy is to combine our breakthrough autofocus solutions with our other proprietary technologies so that DOC will become a leading supplier of integrated camera modules in the mobile phone market,” said Bob Roohparvar, president of DigitalOptics. “The acquisition of the Tier One qualified Zhuhai Camera Module Business provides DOC with a world-class, cost competitive facility that has the necessary production capabilities for DOC to assemble camera modules in volume, and a well-trained team of engineers and manufacturing employees.”

In addition to developing technologies to enhance optical imaging – including software that helps mobile phone cameras to correct hand motion or to improve the autofocus functions – DOC has been developing its capacity to oversee the high-volume manufacturing operations required by mobile phone makers. DOC’s steps in the past year have included hiring more than a dozen executives and managers who have experience in engineering scale-up as well as in manufacturing at similar facilities.

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