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Apple ups stake in UK mobile chippery

Still chasing Intel

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Updated Apple and Intel have seen the future, and it's mobile - and both companies are putting big money into a UK company whose chip designs are becoming increasingly attractive to companies battling in the mobile arena.

In a brief statement today, mobile-graphics chip designer Imagination Technologies announced that Apple had acquired 2.2 million of its shares, adding to the 8.2 million it acquired in December 2008.

According to Imagination, these shares plus "recent share purchases that Apple has notified IMG that it has made in the open market" - 11.52 million of them, as reported by TheStreet.com - brings Cupertino's ownership stake in the Hertfordshire, England company to 9.5 per cent.

But Apple is still well behind Intel in Imagination-shareholder status. Just last Thursday, Chipzilla acquired a hefty 25 million Imagination shares. Add those to 900,000-plus shares it acquired in late December of last year and the 6 million it snagged back in late 2006, and Intel's total Imagination holdings now total holdings just under 32 million - that's 13.99 per cent of the company.

Lest you think a takeover is in the works, Xbit reports that Intel informed the London Stock Exchange that they have "no current intention to make an offer for Imagination Technologies Group."

No parallel statement has been made by Apple - but with Intel holding nearly 14 per cent of Imagination, Cupertino doesn't have to.

Besides, after its aquisition of chipmaker PA Semi last April and amid persistent rumors that it's setting up its own chip division, Apple has enough chippery on its plate to keep it busy. ®

Bootnote

In related news, MacRumors has reported that the iPhone 3GS appears to use Imagination's PowerVR SGX535 graphics processor - a more-powerful member of the company's PowerVR SGX line than previously thought.

There are also even-beefier PowerVR SGX chips in the Imagination pipeline, such as the multicore PowerVR SGX543MP that the company revealed at - where else? - the Multicore Expo in March. Perhaps one of those babies might find itself in the oft-rumored Apple tablet/netbook/media-pad/ebook/whatever. ®

Update

Thanks to a Reg reader for pointing out that Intel completed another purchase of just over 4.6 million shares on the 19th, informing Imagination on the 23rd. This latest transaction brings Intel's holdings to over 36.6 million shares, or just over 16 per cent of voting rights.

We have no excuse for this omission other than sometimes it's hard to keep up with all the moving and shaking being moved and shaken by all the movers and shakers in the tech arena.

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