Back in October, Sony announced its intention to buy out Toshiba's sensor business, and today they've sealed the deal. Sony is spending ¥19 billion ($154 million) on the acquisition.

Toshiba says that they will 'transfer semiconductor fabrication facilities, equipment and related assets of Toshiba's 300mm wafer production line, mainly located at its Oita Operations facility, to Sony Semiconductor as part of the deal'. The company's 1,100 workers will be offered positions at Sony after the merger closes by the end of the first quarter 2016.

This deal potentially affects every camera manufacturer that has used Sony and/or Toshiba APS-C (and smaller) sensors in the past - which is to say virtually all of them. Except for Canon and Samsung, both of which manufacture their own APS-C and larger sensors, every other camera manufacturer, including Nikon, will now pretty much have to rely on Sony.

That is, assuming Samsung doesn't become a supplier in its own right. With a question mark hanging over the future of the NX system and long-standing rumors about the company's investment in full-frame, it is possible that Samsung could step in to provide Nikon, Ricoh and Fujifilm with an alternative to Sony. 


Press release:

Sony and Toshiba Sign Definitive Agreements for the Transfer of Semiconductor Fabrication Facilities

Tokyo, Japan, December 4th, 2015 -- Based on the memorandum of understanding entered into between Sony Corporation ("Sony") and Toshiba Corporation ("Toshiba") on October 28, 2015, the parties today announced that they have signed definitive agreements to transfer to Sony and to Sony Semiconductor Corporation ("SCK"), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony, certain Toshiba-owned semiconductor fabrication facilities, equipment and related assets in its Oita Operations facility, as well as other related equipment and assets owned by Toshiba (the "Transfer"). 

Under the agreements, Toshiba will transfer semiconductor fabrication facilities, equipment and related assets of Toshiba's 300mm wafer production line, mainly located at its Oita Operations facility. The purchase price of the Transfer is 19 billion yen. Sony and Toshiba aim to complete the Transfer within the fiscal year ending March 31, 2016, subject to any required regulatory approvals. 

Following the Transfer, Sony and SCK plan to operate the semiconductor fabrication facilities as fabrication facilities of SCK, primarily for manufacturing CMOS image sensors. 

The parties expect to offer the employees of Toshiba and its affiliates employed at the fabrication facilities to be transferred, as well as certain employees involved in areas such as CMOS image sensor engineering and design (approximately 1,100 employees in total), employment within the Sony Group, upon the completion of the Transfer.

Outline of 300mm wafer fabrication facilities, Toshiba Oita Operations

  • Building completion: February, 2004
  • Location: 3500 Oaza Matsuoka, Oita City, Oita Prefecture, Japan
  • Building area: 24,100 m2
  • Total floor space: 48,800 m2
  • Main products: CMOS image sensors, memory controllers