British security authorities have been warned about a possible acquisition of Imagination Technologies by China Reform Holding. The British chip manufacturer, which used to provide GPUs for iPhones and iPads, is holding urgent talks on the possible appointment of board members of the Chinese state-owned company.
The authorities Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) are being kept informed of the latest developments at Imagination Technologies. In the event of a possible transfer of power within the company, the company’s intellectual property and patents may leave the United Kingdom.
The company is based in England and is owned by Canyon Bridge Capital Partners, a private equity firm based in the Cayman Islands. The main investor is China Reform Holdings, the company that wants to acquire Imagination Technologies.
Emergency letter to Boris Johnson
Four MPs have written a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to intervene, Sky News reports. In the letter they ask the GCHQ to intervene, and to answer questions about the security implications of the changes within the company. The four MPs cover business, industrial strategy, digital, culture, media and sports, defense and foreign affairs.
The MPs also want assurances that Imagination Technologies will continue to operate as a British company and will still be based in the United Kingdom. Many politicians compare this situation to the way the government deals with Huawei. Earlier this year, the Chinese telecom giant was given a ‘limited’ role in building the British 5G infrastructure by Boris Johnson’s government. This while many opponents were of the opinion that Huawei should be completely disregarded.
Imagination Technologies supplies graphical processing units (GPUs) to leading customers such as Apple, Samsung and other tech companies. The company also supplies products to customers in the automotive industry.