Nvidia Corp. reportedly plans to acquire new shares of Via Technologies. The investment will not be substantial, but the fact that Nvidia wants to invest into a microprocessor, chipset and graphics chip designer seems to be rather important and may indicate interest of Nvidia in patents of Via and its subsidiary Centaur Technologies.
According to a news-story at DigiTimes web-site, Nvidia may potentially invest up to $81 - $105 million into 300 million new shares of Via Technologies. The report claims that the graphics chip designer is in talks about acquiring “a portion” of new shares. Via said that possible candidates for the private placement will be made clear after a shareholder meeting scheduled on June 19, 2009.
Via Technologies is headed by WenChi Chen and Cher Wang, who are among the top 5 richest people in Taiwan based on Forbes figures, and the company is hardly an acquisition target. Therefore, a potential investment from Nvidia is rather surprising.
On the other hand, sales of Via Technologies have been declining for more than five years now and the company needs cash, meanwhile, Nvidia may be interested in licensing certain patents from Via. In fact, Nvidia already has cross-license agreement with S3 Graphics signed in 1999, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Via Technologies, but the firm may be interested in getting intellectual property from Centaur Technologies, another wholly-owned subsidiary of Via that develops central processing units, and the investment may be the first step for a cross-licensing agreement.
Nvidia did not comment on the news-story.