UK MP calls for western buyer to thwart Imagination coup

April 14, 2020 //By Peter Clarke
UK MP calls for western buyer to thwart Imagination coup
UK member of parliament and former Brexit minister David Davis, has called for the government to do everything it can to prevent the technology of GPU licensor Imagination being removed to China, according to a Reuters report.

Davis goes on to say the government should to try and arrange the purchase of Imagination Technologies (Kings Langley, England) by another company in a Western country.

And separately Sir Hossein Yossaie, who was CEO of Imagination for many years up until 2017, has written to MPs asking them to step in, according to a Sky News report. Sir Hossein Yassaie has reportedly said China is trying to use the UK government's pre-occupation with the Covid-19 pandemic as cover while they make their move.

Imagination Technologies licenses its semiconductor chip to such companies as Apple for use in smartphone and automotive displays although it has suffered in recent years under pressure from ARM and others. Although Imagination is being discussed as a champion of UK engineering it is still trying to reinvent itself after a spectacular fall in fortunes in 2017, which allowed a manager of funds from China to acquire it.

Nonetheless, a row has blown up in recent days over moves by China Reform Holdings to get its slate of four people elected as directors of the company. China Reform Holdings is the main shareholder and has ties to the Chinese government. It has been alleged that there is a desire to move the headquarters of Imagination to China.

CEO Ron Black and two senior executives Steve Evans and John Rayfield have all resigned over the potential coup. In addition the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS), a Washington watchdog that approves or blocks US takeovers, has launched an urgent probe into Canyon Bridge Partners, the private equity firm that owns Imagination (see Imagination's senior executives quit over potential Chinese coup). Imagination is a supplier of IP to Apple and against the backdrop of US-China trade tension there may be concern over Apple dependence on a Chinese supplier.

Next: Statement from Imagination

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