Just over six months after grabbing its first piece of Imagination Technologies, Apple has upped its stake in the British graphics IP company from 3.6% to 9.5%. Reuters says Apple has bought a total of 13.7 million new IMG shares.
2.2 million of those shares reportedly cost the iPhone maker £1.43 ($2.36) a pop, while the rest changed hands at an undisclosed price. If all new shares cost the same, then Apple must have spent a total of $32.3 million on the deal—not exactly pocket change, but still a small fraction of the $1.21 billion profits Apple posted last quarter.
As we noted last December, Imagination licenses PowerVR graphics intellectual property cores to Apple and other customers, including Intel, Samsung, and Texas Instruments. Reuters points out that Intel already owns 16% of the British firm, and Imagination Tech "sees the share purchases as a way for the companies to ensure access to its intellectual property."
Apple may be building IMG-derived technology into home-brewed hardware for the iPhone. The company recently hired a pair of former graphics technology officers from AMD, and it also brought in chip designers to develop ARM-based processors for the iPhone last year.