Hearst to Sell Stake in E-Reader
Taiwan-based firm agrees to acquire E Ink.
Hearst Interactive Media has agreed to sell its stake in E Inkâ€”the electronic paper displayÂ firm that developed the technology for Amazon's Kindle and the Sony Readerâ€”to Taiwan-based e-paper display module supplier Prime View International. Prime View said it agreed to buy out all of E Inkâ€™s investors for approximately $215 million.
Hearst acquired a stake in Cambridge, Massachusetts-based E Ink in 1998. â€śWith the rapid increase in e-Reader acceptance, the value of E Ink grew and the investors decided it was a good time to sell,â€ť a Hearst spokesperson wrote in an e-mail to FOLIO:. "There are various approvals and shareholder votes needed before this closes."
Other E Ink investors include Motorola Corp., FA Technology Ventures and Intel Capital. The Hearst spokesperson declined to say how much of a stake the publisher had in E Ink.
Last fall, Hearst tapped E Ink to develop and produce the flexible electronic "paper" cover for Esquireâ€™s October 75th anniversary issue. Earlier this year, Hearst was said to be developing a wireless e-reader deviceâ€”similar to the Kindleâ€”featuring a large-format screen thatâ€™s conducive to reading magazines.
"Hearst has invested in a separate company that is creating an entire e-reading ecosystem for consumers, featuring a broad range of content from multiple publishers," the spokesperson said.
According to industry analyst Vinita Jakhanwal, the market for e-readers is expected to grow from 1.1 million units in 2008 to 20 million units by 2012.