TOKYO:

The Pak Banker - - COMPANIES/BOSS -

Sony Corp. agreed to buy Al­tair Semi­con­duc­tor Ltd. for $212 mil­lion, ac­quir­ing tech­nol­ogy to power the next gen­er­a­tion of smart ap­pli­ances as the firm looks for growth be­yond chips for smart­phone cam­eras. Al­tair, with mo­dem chips for fourth-gen­er­a­tion cel­lu­lar tech­nol­ogy, will help the com­pany make com­po­nent devices fea­tur­ing both sens­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tion ca­pa­bil­i­ties, Sony said in a state­ment Tues­day. Al­tair, based in Hod Hasharon, Is­rael, makes chipsets that can con­nect se­cu­rity sys­tems, power me­ters and cars to the Web with the deal due to close next month.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Kazuo Hi­rai is mov­ing the Tokyo- based com­pany away from con­sumer elec­tron­ics to fo­cus on growth in im­age sen­sors, video games and movies. It agreed to buy Toshiba Corp.'s im­age sen­sor op­er­a­tions last year to build up its chip busi­ness with growth in its devices unit con­tribut­ing to the com­pany's re­turn to profit. "More and more 'things' are ex­pected to be equipped with cel­lu­lar chipsets, re­al­iz­ing a con­nected en­vi­ron­ment in which 'things' can re­li­ably and se­curely ac­cess net­work ser­vices that lev­er­age the power of cloud com­put­ing," Sony said in the state­ment. Global com­pa­nies are in­creas­ingly look­ing to Is­rael for in­no­va­tion and the coun­try has been seek­ing to pro­mote stronger trad­ing ties with Ja­pan. Honda Mo­tor Co. has part­nered with Is­raeli crowd­fund­ing startup OurCrowd to find ap­pli­ca­tions for con­nected cars, Nick Sugi­moto, a se­nior pro­gramme di­rec­tor for Honda, said in an in­ter­view Mon­day. "Ja­panese com­pa­nies are more ac­tive in look­ing for in­no­va­tive and dis­rup­tive Is­raeli tech­nol­ogy," said Avi Has­son, the head of the Of­fice of the Chief Sci­en­tist, which pro­motes and in­vests in the tech­nol­ogy in­dus­try. "The Sony deal is a good ex­am­ple of that." In Oc­to­ber, the Is­raeli eco­nomic min­istry ar­ranged for Hi­tachi Ltd. to visit lo­cal com­pa­nies and dis­cuss ar­eas where com­pa­nies from the two coun­tries could col­lab­o­rate on tech­nol­ogy for con­nected devices. Sony re­ports fis­cal third quar­ter re­sults on Fri­day.

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