Apple buys Israeli chip maker PrimeSense : Report

Reports suggest that Apple has acquired PrimeSense, potentially in order to innovate in the field of 3D sensor technology.

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Credit: Apple

Apple has acquired PrimeSense, an Israeli-based firm which develops chips capable of powering devices for three-dimensonal uses.

According to Israeli publication the Calcalist, the purchase price has been agreed at $345 million, after original reports last year suggsted a buyer had been found for the firm -- which at the time had several other suitors including rival Samsung.

Citing unnamed sources, the paper says that the deal will be formally announced in the next two weeks. The transaction had been expected to be signed at the beginning of this month, but legal issues involving PrimeSense developers delayed the deal.

The Israeli financial paper said that PrimeSense was also able to raise $85 million in venture capital funding from sources including Genesis, the Gemini foundation and Canaan.

PrimeSense develops technology which is used for devices including Microsoft's Xbox Kinect, and helps device sensors detect bodily movements. Accounting for roughly 150 employees, the firm focuses on creating chips which can process facial and body movements for use with gaming systems -- but this kind of innovation may eventually be used in wearable technology or through home television sets.

A spokesperson for PrimeSense told Reuters:

"We are focused on building a prosperous company while bringing 3D sensing and natural interaction to the mass market in a variety of markets such as interactive living room and mobile devices. We do not comment on what any of our partners, customers or potential customers are doing and we do not relate to rumors or recycled rumors."

If confirmed, the purchase of PrimeSense would be the second Israel-based acquisition. In 2012, the iPad and iPhone maker struck a deal to buy flash storage chip manufacturer Anobit for what is believed to be a purchase price between $300 and $400 million.

We have reached out to Apple and will update if we hear back.