Sony Buys Out Cell Processor Factory From Toshiba

Sony has completed a deal with Toshiba to purchase majority ownership of a semiconductor factory that creates the Cell Broadband Engine and RSX graphic chip, which are key components in the PlayStation 3. The fabrication facilities are located in the Nagasaki Technology Center of Sony Semiconductor Kyushu Corporation (seen above).

Toshiba originally paid 90 billion yen ($1.1 billion) for the plant in 2007, and worked closely with NSM, Sony, and SCEI (who had a combined 40% ownership) to create the powerful Cell processor, a 9-core chip which was originally conceived to power a wide array of next generation consumer electronic devices. Those big aspirations have fallen short as Cell has only been found in the PlayStation 3, and several Toshiba displays and other devices to date.

After Toshiba transfers the facility over to Sony in 2012, the joint venture that is currently managing operations will dissolve.

“This is part of our company’s shift to outsource production of high-end chips to other companies,” said Toshiba spokesman Hiroki Yamazaki.

Nikkei reported that Sony got quite a deal on the purchase price, which is rumored to be around 50 billion yen ($610 million), a little less than half the original price.

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