Today, E Ink, an electronic paper display company in Cambridge, Mass., was acquired for $215 million by its longtime partner, Taipei-based Prime View International, whose technology drives the pixels in E Ink’s black-and-white displays.
No doubt Prime View was encouraged by the growing popularity of Amazon’s Kindle, Sony’s Reader, and other e-book reading gadgets. More, judging by several reports, the combined company will be able to introduce color into E Ink’s displays much more quickly than had the companies continued to toil independently.
Given the dearth of M&A exits lately, the acquisition may have encouraged the venture community, too. It shouldn’t, unfortunately — not after a quick look at the numbers. Consider the number of years ago that E Ink was founded, for example: 12. (So much for five- to seven-year-long investing horizons.)
E Ink has also raised a boatload of capital over the last dozen years: $148.8 million from more than 20 outfits, including Intel Capital, Motorola Ventures, Solstice Capital, the McClatchy Company, Lucent Technologies, FA Technology Ventures, and the Hearst Corporation.