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Sony to break out of Cell?

Toshiba earmarked to gobble firm's chip biz

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Sony could be set for a big chip payday by backing away from its semiconductor biz and selling it off to Toshiba, if industry rumours prove correct.

According to several speculative reports, a sale is imminent with discussions between the two Japanese tech giants said to be at an advanced stage.

Production lines up for grabs could include Sony's Cell microprocessor which powers PlayStation 3 video games consoles.

According to today's Financial Times, Sony has invested some 200bn yen in the Cell chip.

Sony, which in recent months has faced legal action over alleged patent infringements around the technology used in its latest games console, had been planning to streamline its fabrication facilities for some time by outsourcing its non-core components.

Japanese semiconductor firms have struggled in recent years to compete against their US equivalents, such as Intel and IBM.

The FT said Toshiba could expect a price tag in the region of 100bn yen to secure the buyout. ®

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