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E Ink of Cambridge, MA to be acquired by their largest customer, Taiwan-based PVI (Prime View International) June 9, 2009

Posted by HubTechInsider in Hardware, Venture Capital.
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Cambridge-based E Ink Corporation will be acquired by Taiwan-based PVI (Prime View International), their largest customer, in a pending $215 million deal. E Ink employs about 120 people at their Cambridge, MA headquarters and another five or so employees at their just opened coating and film production plant in South Hadley, MA.

E Ink manufactures the key display technology used in devices such as the Amazon Kindle, Kindle DX and Kindle 2 and other brand electronic readers. This market is expected to grow rapidly; In a better stock market for Initial Public Offerings, or IPOs, a company such as E Ink would normally be able to turn to the public markets for expansion capital. But the IPO market in the US is very slow, with only seven IPOs so far on Wall Street this year.

The largest investor in the 12-year old company is FA Technology Ventures in Boston. One of their Managing Partners, Ken Mabbs, has a Board seat. Another financial backer of E Ink is Solstice Capital in Boston.

E Ink was founded in 1997 by CEO Russ Wilcox and four partners, one of whom was Joseph Jacobson from the MIT Media Lab. The company has raised more than $150 million in capital, from venture firms and also industry strategic partners such as Hearst Corp., Intel Corp., and Motorola.

Under the acquisition plan, E Ink would be a wholly owned subsidiary of PVI, retain its local management and employees, and help PVI refocus on the electronic paper market.

Within the past year, other Massachusetts-based startups have been purchased by foreign or out-of-state buyers, including companies such as Maven Networks, Virtual iron, Millennium Pharmaceuticals and Sirtis Pharmaceuticals – ranging in technologies from traditional networking technology to biotechnology.

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