Sony has announced that it's buying Toshiba's image sensor business for 19 billion yen ($155 million). Plans to do so were first rumored in October, but Sony has now confirmed the price, with the transfer of Toshiba's fabrication plant, equipment, and employees set to be completed within the fiscal year ending March 31st, 2016. The facilities will operate under Sony's new wholly owned subsidiary, the Sony Semiconductor Corporation, which will be dedicated primarily to the production of image sensors. (Although Toshiba's facilities also manufacture memory controllers as well.)
Sony's image sensors are used in both the high-end camera and smartphone markets
The move shows Sony continuing to double down on one of its few profitable areas. Not only is the company successful in the sensor market for high-end cameras, but its camera components have proved its only reliable method of profiting from the smartphone boom. Companies including Apple, Google, and Xiaomi all use Sony sensors in at least some of their products, giving the Japanese tech firm standing in the smartphone industry, even if its own devices don't sell as well.