British chipmaker to remain in UK after China deal

Updated 2017-09-26 11:30:51

China-backed investment company Canyon Bridge, which acquired chip manufacturer Imagination Technologies for 550 million pounds (4 million), has given assurances the company will remain in the United Kingdom.

Hertfordshire-based Imagination, one of the world's leading makers of mobile graphics processors, was put up for sale earlier this year after it lost its biggest client, United States tech giant Apple.

San Francisco-based Canyon Bridge, which is backed by Chinese fund Yitai Capital, first held talks with Imagination in July.

In August, UK government officials reportedly made enquiries about the involvement of foreign bidders in the auction.

In its manifesto, the Conservative Party has promised "greater scrutiny" of the sales of UK companies to foreign investors.

Ray Bingham, a partner at Canyon Bridge, gave assurances on Monday that Imagination's headquarters and its research and development operations would all remain in the UK. The company employs around 1,700 people.

"We have limited partners today that are primarily Chinese," Bingham told the BBC Radio 4 Today program. "They are investing in opportunities outside of China to help drive products and services into China, not to bring those technologies and the people with them."

China is the world's largest electronics market in both manufacturing and consumption, Bingham said. He said Canyon Bridge's strategy was not to relocate the British company to China, but to aid Imagination in terms of capital and broadening its channels into the Asian market.

Earlier this year, President Donald Trump blocked Canyon Bridge's attempt to acquire US chipmaker Lattice Semiconductor for .3 billion.

"The American experience was very disappointing," Bingham said. "While those decisions are quite situation-specific and sometimes driven by the winds of policies and politics, we didn't understand in any way how that was a concern for national security."

Canyon Bridge's acquisition of Imagination does not include the tech company's US unit, MIPS, which is being sold to Tallwood Venture Capital, a Silicon Valley investment group, for million, according to the Financial Times.

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