Chip Firm Imagination Buying HelloSoft To Bolster Mobile Multimedia

Imagination Technologies, the microchip intellectual property licensing firm of which Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) owns a stake, is buying itself greater heft in wireless media delivery by acquiring VoIP and internet video firm HelloSoft for up to $47.1 million.

The two companies had worked together. Imagination says HelloSoft’s technology complements its own PowerVR, a graphics architecture for low-power devices which is used in iPhone 4, iPad and Samsung Galaxy s; buying it outright means it can take full control of its WiFi technology and the roadmap of its Universal Programmable Communication Platform.

Mobile multimedia delivery is an area Imagination Technologies, a rival to Cambridge, England’s ARM, wants to go hard on. It already powers many WiFi radios through its in-house Pure DAB brand. But it wants to further embrace the rise of internet delivery over mobile, WiFi, LTE etc.

The combo means Hertforshire, England-based Imagination will be able to license chip IP including not just graphics capability and radio decoding but also delivery of internet audio and video over internet networks.

HelloSoft founder and CEO Krishna Yarlagadda becomes president of a new U.S. Imagination division. It also means a stronger Indian foothold for Imagination, which has an office there as well as in San Jose

Apple took a 3.6 percent stake in Imagination in 2008 and increased it to 9.5 percent in 2009.

Imagination is placing new shares worth $9.5 million to part-fund a cash part of the acquisition.

Reporting interim earnings guidance, it said it had made “approaching 100 million partner chip shipments” by October 31, though revenues are expected to be down.