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3Dlabs, an ex-designer of workstation graphics solutions and now a wholly owned subsidiary of Creative Technology, said Tuesday it was looking for investors to spin out from its parent company. The firm indicated that the agreement with the current owner had been reached.

“Creative has approved the spinout and feels it is the best solution for its shareholders, and we are now talking to potential investors as we move back to our roots of being a fabless chip company. We hope the transaction will be completed by next April,” said Hock Leow, president of 3Dlabs, in an interview with EETimes web-site.

Creative Technology acquired designer of professional graphics accelerators 3Dlabs back in 2002. To complete the acquisition, the company paid approximately $37.0 million cash and issues approximately 6.3 million Creative shares for the acquisition.

The original plan of Creative Labs was to stay in the professional graphics business while leveraging the technologies by 3Dlabs onto consumer market. Even though the company used to say that it had no plans to release consumer-oriented products based on 3Dlabs’ Wildcat VP technology, implying that other graphics chips were set to be introduced for that market, it actually introduced Graphics Blaster Picture Perfect graphics card in early 2003, which failed to gain popularity.

Early this year 3Dlabs and Creative Technology decided to withdraw from the market of professional graphics accelerators as well under the pressure of ATI Technologies and Nvidia Corp. Instead, 3Dlabs decided to dedicate itself to development of media processors for handheld multimedia devices.

Creative Technology has been gradually withdrawing from the chip business for several years now. Even though the company sells its Live! and Audigy audio processors to mainboard makers, the main strength of the company are professional audio solutions, digital media players and other devices.

Although it is unclear why Creative Technology is not interested in having dedicated unit for development of chips for its Zen-series players, for 3Dlabs, which now calls itself 3Dlabs Semiconductor Inc., there is much larger market to address as an independent company.


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