The future of e-book readers, at least most of them on the market today, now lies with a Taiwanese company: E Ink, the high-resolution e-paper display technology provider, which is used by Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) Kindle, Sony (NYSE: SNE) Readers and upcoming Plastic Logic’s e-reader, has been bought by Prime View International, based in Taiwan. The price: $215 million. The deal, if approved, is expected to close by October. PVI already makes the screens for Kindle and Reader, and touts itself as the largest maker of e-paper display modules. This new acquisition gives the company a lot of heft in this still nascent market; E Ink and PVI currently support nearly 20 e-book manufacturers worldwide, the companies said. In 2005, PVI acquired the e-paper business of Philips Electronics (NYSE: PHG).
E Ink sales were $18 million in the first quarter of 2009, up 157 percent over the same quarter in 2008. E Ink will remain headquartered in Cambridge, Mass. and plans to expand its employee base from 127 to 150 people during 2009, it said. It has raised about $150 million since 1997, with investors such as Intel (NSDQ: INTC), Motorola (NYSE: MOT), Philips, Hearst Interactive Media, and Japan